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Putting some 'moves' into Western Michigan's Living Wage Campaign
Apr 5, 2006

For the past few days, I have had the pleasure of working with the Living Wage Campaign Coalition at Western Michigan University. Students there have been organizing in solidarity with janitorial and housekeeping staff for the past two years, after WMU's administration subcontracted 60 formerly well paying, union jobs to union-busting and povery wage paying contractor CSM. After several rounds of meetings with their administration, including WMU president Bailey, the LWCC decided it was time to step things up and put a little "movement" back into Living Wage. :)

At 10:30 AM on Tuesday, April 4th, students and community members from the Kalamazoo Homeless Action Network strolled into President Bailey's office to award her with the prestigious "Best Paid Administrator Award." The LWCC honored all of the hard work that President Bailey (who makes roughly $370,000 a year) must be doing by presenting her with a check for $7, the hourly wage of some of the hardest working folks on WMU's campus. And what awards ceremony is complete without a party afterwards? The LWCC passed out delicious living wage cupcakes to the administrative secretaries and other folks that were around, and then threw a huge dance party, complete with rows of folks doing The Hustle!

Unfortunately, WMU's campus police did not think that the action was quite as funny as we all did, and were pretty adamant that we leave right away. So, after a final goodbye to all of the wonderfully good-humored administrative staff (well, most of them were good humored any way) and duct taping the massive check to the wall, we bid our adieu to administration building.

Overall. the action was hugely successful, and displayed the broad support and power that the LWCC has. Keep your eyes on this campaign, because it's sure to only keep heating up from here!

In Solidarity,

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