Students Protest in Front of Waterman

“Money for the classroom not for the boardroom,” “Hey Hey! Ho Ho! These poverty wages have got to go,” and “We want an education not a corporation” were just some of the slogans chanted by approximately 60 students protesting for livable wages in the President’s Wing of Waterman last Friday afternoon.While the protestors occupied the President’s wing Chris Costello, a member of the Student Labor Action Project, presented an oversized check to Provost John Bramley and Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to the President Gary Derr.The oversized novelty check was made out to President Fogel for nine dollars an hour, a symbolic gesture referencing the workers on campus who make below what SLAP claims to be a livable wage.Costello was unable to present the check to President Fogel, who was away on business. He could not be reached for comment.The demonstration within Waterman was the climactic end to the “Rally for Livable Wages.” The event began at 12 pm on the steps of Waterman on Friday afternoon.This rally was the final event in SLAP’s “Week of Action” for livable wages. The week included a petition drop to President Fogel as well as several other awareness raising events on campus. Over a hundred people gathered to the steps of Waterman as SLAP member Sam Maron reiterated the need of livable wages for all workers on campus.Maron invoked the UN Declaration of Human rights, stating that UVM doesn’t meet its standards because some lower paid workers on campus do not make over twelve dollars an hour, which is considered to be a livable wage in Burlington by the Vermont state government. Following Maron’s speech, a host of labor activists and politicians expressed their support to the audience, which filled most of the area directly in front of the steps.The Cat’s Meow, UVM’s female vocal group, also participated in the activity by singing an a capella remix of Ace of Base’s “I Saw the Sign,” containing pro-livable wage lyrics. SLAP’s rally for livable wages was scheduled for this past Friday in order to coincide with a deadline the activists set for UVM administrators to meet three demands, which were made in early February.The three demands are: the right to unionize, hiring outside contractors with apprentice programs, and a livable wage for every worker on campus. The demands have not been agreed to by the University.