and the minimum wage.
29th at 8pm Public Square, ran a live call
in show on issues effecting Vermonters. The VLWC lead the
conversation on the hour long segment on livable wages in Vermont.
Watch the full video
The VLWC had
an Op-Ed which ran in the Burlington Free Press, Times Argus, and Rutland
Herald. The article entitled Low wages are crisis catalyst by Colin Robinson
begins, "For the nearly 6,000 Vermonters who earn $8 per hour
or less, and the nearly 7,000 Vermonters who receive a tipped wage, Jan.
1 is more than the beginning of a new calendar year..." Read
the full article
Read the Full Article
Increase in the
Federal Minimum Wage
Rises to $6.55/hr but still not enough for
On July 24th 2008
the Federal Minimum Wage went up to $6.55/hr as part of legislation
passed by Congress is 2007 which gave millions of workers across the
country their first raise in 10 years. Although this increase is a
positive step forward, after 10 years remaining at $5.15/hr it does
little to change the economic picture for millions of workers. Over
this same period we have seen median wages for working families decrease
while productivity is up 20%. Additionally, if the federal
minimum wage had kept up with inflation since its peak in 1968 it would
be $10.06/hr, far closer to a livable wage, but still two dollars more
then the minimum wage of Washington state which is the highest in the
Here in Vermont we have the 5th highest minimum wages in the county at $7.68/hr and it is adjusted every January 1st for inflation, which doesn’t
happen with the federal minimum. However, Vermont families continue to
struggle as fuel, food and the cost of other basic necessities climb faster then our pay checks. With approximately 20,000 Vermonters making the state minimum
wage or receiving the tipped minimum wage, over 60,000 Vermonters living
in poverty and many thousands more barely holding on what little they
have it is clear something isn’t working. Unfortunately this isn’t the
picture for all Vermonters. While the majority of us struggle to make up
the difference between our wages and our bills the number of Vermont tax
filers making over 1 million dollars increase by 23% from 2005 to 2006.
In Vermont we have been
and continue to be a leader on many fronts, but clearly something isn’t
working for the vast majority of us. We need to ensure that Vermonters
are able to meet their basic needs, receive a livable wage and that
small businesses are able to thrive. We must make sure that we invest
in Vermonters to ensure that we can all succeed.
We need your help. If
you want to get involved in ensuring all Vermonters can find Livable
Jobs and Livable Wages in Vermont send us an
email or call 802-863-2345
Livable Wage Victory for Burlington Food Service & Maintenance Workers
Contract will bring workers up to a Livable Wage over 4 years
After a three and a half year campaign, Burlington school food service and custodial workers of AFSCME Local 1343 won an agreement that will bring all
of its members up to a livable wage by the end of the contract. This agreement is a ground-breaking victory. This is the second livable wage victory in less then a year, last fall the Burlington para-educators had the first livable wage victory in the Burlington Schools.
The campaign for livable wages for Burlington food service and custodial workers has
not been without struggle. It took three years of educating school board and community members, as well as organizing faith leaders, elected officials, other union members and hundreds of
Burlington residents to show their support.
It is hoped that this contract will change the economic reality for many hard
working Vermonters. According to the Report on Livable Wages in Burlington Schools put out in June 2007 by the Peace and Justice Center’s, Vermont Livable Wage Campaign and the Vermont
Workers Center, no food service workers make the hourly livable wage, 43% earned $8.59/hr or less in 2005-2006 school year, and 94% of food service workers are women. Many food service workers
have to work two jobs to make ends meet while their own children qualify for free or reduced price meals at school.
Congratulations to the food service and maintenance workers in Burlington and thank
you to everyone who help out over the past three and a half years. The hard work of the food service and maintenance workers and AFSCME, coupled with the community solidarity efforts and
Burlington Livable City Coalition lead to a victory that is a true community success and finally address some issues of gender wage inequity in Burlington.
Read the Press Coverage
Are you a tipped worker?
Do you know your rights?
Watch our short video, Survival Tips, to learn more.