[Philadelphia, PA]– On Wednesday, students and employees of ‘15 Now Temple’ launched one of the first campaigns in the nation for a campus-wide $15 minimum wage. 15 Now members read a letter to President Neil Theobald co-signed by students groups, student workers, food service employees and adjunct professors that put forth several key demands for economic justice in North Philly.
Temple education student Zoe Buckwalter said, “Philadelphia is the poorest major city in the US. As one of the largest institutions in Philadelphia, Temple can and should take an active role in fighting poverty by paying all campus employees at least $15/hr, including student-workers, work-study students and contracted and subcontracted employees.”
After several speeches by students and Temple staff, the group attempted to enter Sullivan Hall to deliver the letter to President Theobald. They were met with campus security, and the president refused to receive any student representatives in his office.
The 15 Now letter demands that Temple immediately pay all campus workers at least $15 an hour, including work-study students and student-workers. Regarding contractors who refuse to pay $15 an hour, students recommend the university seek to contract with companies that will fulfill Temple’s stated commitment to North Philadelphia with a $15 wage standard.
Temple senior Sarah Giskin says, “I am attending Temple full time and can’t make ends meet. I work several jobs making no more than than $10 an hour. I’ll also be $80,000 in debt when I leave. I don’t even know if I’ll find a job where I make enough money to pay my loans back. Temple needs to stand beside and commit to building a just economy on campus and in the city. “
Additionally, 15 Now Temple demanded Temple publicly endorse a $15/hr minimum wage in Philadelphia for every worker in the city. 15 Now Temple stands in solidarity with the United Academic of Philadelphia to demand that Temple University allow adjunct professors to vote on their union immediately.
Temple student Pele Irgangladen explained, “Our campaign is one of the first in the country to start pushing for a $15 campus wide minimum wage, but students across the country will join us in 2015. Today was just the start of our campaign at Temple, and we’ll keep pressing for $15 until we win.”