Livable wages considered at UVM

UVM’s livable wage task force, created by President Fogel last year in a response to a UVM worker wage controversy, convened last Wednesday to establish a proposal to present to the administration in order to implement a livable wage at UVM.According to the task force’s mission, the task force was created to “develop recommendations for the administration on principles and policies affecting the economic welfare and opportunities of lower-paid UVM employees.”A livable wage is not the same as a minimum wage. Currently, the Vermont minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Taking independent insurance situations into account, the estimated livable wage in Burlington is estimated to be between $11.56 and $13.95 per hour. A livable wage is “the hourly wage or annual income sufficient to meet a family’s basic needs plus all applicable federal and state taxes. “Basic needs include food, housing, child care, transportation, health care, clothing, household and personal expenses, insurance, and 5% savings,” according to the Vermont Livable Wage Campaign. The formation of the task force grew out of the discussions about livable wages that the Student Government Association had been having last year. Due to student activism, the task force was implemented quicker than expected.”I think livable wages are necessary for the good life. Everyone is trying to get by one day at a time. Too often people forget how difficult that is,” Meg Sophia, UVM sophomore, said.The task force is not responsible for the implementation of livable wages at the University, but it may have an impact. President Fogel has created specific charged issues that the group has been dealing with. The first is to “make recommendations to the administration concerning principles and policies that should guide the University’s employment practices for lower-paid members of UVM’s workforce.” The second issue that the force has been working on is to “ground its consideration of principles and guidelines in a thorough examination of accurate data.” The third task the group has been working on is to “solicit the views of interested faculty, staff, and students who wish to contribute their perspectives on these matters.” The task force is comprised of students, administrators, faculty, and staff. There are 17 members in all.