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History

The Student Labor Action Project at UVM has always been a campaign of Students for Peace & Global Justice. It was started in 2004-05 by several members of SFPGJ that were interested in working on labor issues. They teamed up with the Vermont Workers Center, and began supporting the existing unions with their contract negotiations.

In the fall of 2005, SLAP began to attract new members, as the labor issues facing UVM became ever more apparent. United Academics, the faculty union, was having rallies to support their negotiations for a fair contract. SLAP began to help in support of these events. This semester SLAP also had more meetings with President Fogel and other administrators clearly defined the goals that they were working for: livable wages, freedom to organize, and responsible contractor agreements. During this semester, efforts began in the Student Government Association to investigate livable wages, and SLAP held several large rallies to show support.

In the spring of 2006, SLAP decided to step it up, they continued organizing, and built up for the weeks of action in late march and early april. Fogel was given a deadline of Feb 7th of taking action. This was the friday of the end of the weeks of action. During the weeks, SLAP held a dance-in in the administrative wing of Waterman, a press conference with Stewart Acuff of the AFL-CIO, speak-outs, petition gathering, and other events. The week culminated on Feb. 7th with a large rally.

On the morning of Feb 10th, student activists attempted to occupy the presidents wing with the demand of a livable wage for all workers on campus. The occupation failed to commence, and other plans were put into motion. A permit was obtained, and a tent-city was formed on the main green at UVM. More info about tent-city on that page.

On the friday of the week of tent-city, Gary Derr, then Chief of Staff, informed SLAP that a task force was being created and the first meeting was that morning. Sam Maron was asked inside to find a table with administrators, faculty, workers and staff. President Fogel announced that he was creating a task force to look into the "issues of low-wage workers" on campus. More information about the Task Force here. The task force was created because of tent-city, and the outpouring of community support for livable wages.

In the fall of 2006, SLAP continued organizing around the task force, planning several rallies. September 30th was the first, as it was the deadline for the task force recommendation. At this time, SLAP announced a deadline of November 3rd for Fogel to take action. On October 5th, the final verson of the Task Force recommendation was released. SLAP was told that Fogel would not take action on the task force recommendations until November 30th when a meeting was scheduled with Fogel and members of the task force. On November 3rd SLAP had a rally, followed by a two hour sit-in outside of the office demanding that Fogel sign a pledge card to pay a livable wage. Eventually, Gary Derr and Michael Gower came out and informed us that Fogel wouldn't do anything until November 30th.

On November 30th, at the meeting between Fogel and the Task Force, Fogel presented his own findings. He showed a large, full-color chart comparing UVM to other peer schools in terms of wages. It showed that UVM was ahead of the other schools he selected for comparison. He then informed that task force that the new Service and Maintenance workers union contract was enough, at $10.60 an hour, and that he was taking no further action on livable wages. Most people in the room that day were shocked and appalled.

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