William and Mary workers are an important part of our esteemed community. As such they have a right to be given a living wage for all their daily strenuous work that has gone unappreciated. A "living wage" reflects the basic needs of a family, which for the Hampton Roads area is calculated as $17.25/hr* for a family with one parent and one child. It is important to note that this wage reflects a cost of living that is truly basic; it does not include a budget for recreation, emergencies, or savings. Workers are asking for an increased starting wage that would reflect more accurately the expenses tied to living and working with a family in Williamsburg. These issues have been brought up to the administration through different delegations during the Fall 2010 semester, but little changes have been made to resolve the issues.

The Living Wage Coalition continues to gather support from various areas of the community and build momentum for living wages on our campus. We are asking the administration to prioritize workers and address the issue of poverty on campus by taking action and moving towards living wages for our workers. The College of William and Mary should be leading the way for other colleges around the country to insert fair wages for their workers. We are a campus based on the value of community and we should not undermine any part of our community. Therefore, we are asking the administration to bring wages up to $15/hr; a wage that better reflects the demanding cost of living in Williamsburg. People deserve to make enough money to subsist in Williamsburg working one full-time job. There is no excuse for William and Mary to pay its employers anything less than what it costs to live and work with dignity: to have the security and future that savings allow for, to afford quality child care and medical expenses, and to both feed and spend quality time with family. Furthermore, it has come to the attention of Residence Life Housekeepers that there are currently 4-5 vacancies within Residence Life. We are disappointed to hear that after last semester's meetings and resolutions, the department has lapsed into the same problems that there have been over the last five years. These vacancies make it difficult for workers to finish their work on time in a safe and effective way, and contribute to exhaustion and overwork. Last semester the department was able to fill vacancies with temporary workers within days of meeting with Residence Life Housekeepers, and began interviewing full-time workers within a week. We hope that the department will take similar steps immediately and ensure that these positions are permanently filled within one month. Workers have suggested the implementation of a system of filling these vacancies where open positions are filled within a month or workers are compensated for the extra buildings they clean.

Our college represents strong values that students have always upheld with Tribe Pride. We are only asking from the administration that which we expect from our institution: for all members of our community to be treated fairly and issues of inequality to be addressed.

The Living Wage Coalition and workers will continue acting toward the implementation of a living wage until the steps outlined above are taken.

*See the Economic Policy Institute's Family Budget Calculator for more information on the cost of living in the Hampton Roads area. You may also visit the Living Wage Calculator made available from Pennsylvania State University, http://www.livingwage.geog.psu.edu/, for additional ways to calculate living wages in Williamsburg, VA.