- Ithaca College has pledged that Sodexo, its dining service provider, will pay all employees at least the locally calculated Living Wage, recently re-assessed to be $11.67, starting Sept. 1, 2011, adjusting wages whenever the Living Wage changes.
- When the College made the announcement on April 28, the living wage was $11.11 per hour for a full-time worker. On Friday, May 6 at 10:30 a.m., the Alternatives Federal Credit Union released the results of its bi-annual Living Wage Study, which concluded that the 2011 Living Wage for Tompkins County is now $11.67 per hour, a 5 percent increase from the $11.11 figure calculated two years ago. This figure assumes that health insurance is provided for workers. If health insurance is not provided, workers shall receive $13.78 per hour, which is usually not the case for IC dining service workers. The Alternatives Federal Credit Union reported that the largest driving factor of the increase was the rise in rent costs in the county.
- Ithaca College and Sodexo formed a written contract concerning the Living Wage. Both the College and Sodexo came together to figure out a way to cover the costs of this wage increase. Contrary to recent reports insinuating that Sodexo has met Living Wage demands by footing the entire costs of the wage increase, there has been no confirmation as to where the money will come from. Students have simply been guaranteed that these wage increases will not result in a rise in room and board fees.
- Sodexo managers announced that the 80 employees, who were not making below the Living Wage, would also receive a wage increases. Sodexo determined the different raise increments for those making between $11.11 and $14. Any employee making more than $14 will receive a 25-cent raise. These employees are typically those who have worked at the college for more than 15 years. Several workers were upset with the small raise after having worked in IC’s dining services for so long.
- Although the college worked with Sodexo to provide the living wage, they did not approve of the Labor Initiative in Promoting Solidarity’s proposal. In the proposal, LIPS asked for protection for workers against fire, wage decrease or discrimination if workers made a complaint about the company or used any other methods to enforce their rights. LIPS also asked for an improved grievance process that protects workers who allege violation of any provision, as some IC dining service workers have, which would have allowed workers to more swiftly receive their promised guarantees concerning the grievance policy. LIPS also asked that workers receive job security if Ithaca College changes dining service providers, as well as between semesters—currently all workers are technically rehired each semester.
Alyssa Figueroa is a junior journalism and politics major and a member of the Labor Initiative in Promoting Solidarity. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep checking Buzzsaw magazine for continued updates on the Living Wage victory. And read more about the backstory behind the Living Wage victory in the April 2010, May 2010, October 2010, December 2010 and April 2011.