On March 28, student workers at Columbia University won $15/hour, after two years of campaigning, and mere days after NYU student workers claimed the same victory. But the fight doesn’t stop here — Read their statement below, and stay tuned at www.studentworkers.org for more updates!
BREAKING: As a result of SWS protest against and negotiations with the Provost over the last two semesters, Columbia’s administration has agreed to raise student workers’ wages to $15/hr over the next three years. This victory was secured through months of protest and public pressure, from rallies in Low Library to banner drops and speak outs across campus.
While this is an important step forward, our campaign for living wages on campus is far from over.
Since we launched our campaign last fall, Student Worker Solidarity has been demanding an immediate increase in all work-study, casual, and volunteer positions to fifteen dollars an hour. While Columbia has been forced to issue a public statement because of continuous pressure from student organizers, a gradual increase in wages is not enough. Food insecurity, housing insecurity, and poverty are urgent issues, and they demand an immediate solution. Students on this campus are struggling to meet basic expenses such as healthcare and textbook costs right now, and it is unthinkable that some of them will graduate without ever being paid a living wage from their university. Student workers on this campus cannot wait three more years to receive fair compensation for their labor.
Student-Worker Solidarity is comprised of both Barnard and Columbia students, and we would like to make it clear that our campaign targets both the Columbia and Barnard administrations. In negotiations with SWS, Barnard administrators have stated that Barnard has the financial resources to raise student wages, yet Barnard’s administration has failed to take any meaningful steps towards addressing our demands and has not made concrete changes to increase student wages. We call on Barnard College to either release a public statement on why it refuses to raise student wages or implement a plan for a campus-wide policy of $15 an hour.
As we have seen today, the power of student organizers to effect change on their campuses cannot be underestimated. Because of workers and community members leading the national and state-wide Fight for $15 movements, cities and states across the country have increased their minimum wage to $15 an hour. We will continue to demand compensation for all unpaid volunteer positions, an end to payroll backlog and improved career development for students. We will also continue to organize and escalate until Barnard and Columbia commit to raising all campus wages to $15/hour.