Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hunger Strike at UVa, Will Michael Moore Join?

On Michael Moore's website, he features a post written by University of Virginia student and football player Joseph Williams, who is about 8 days into a hunger strike at UVa to protest the oppressive, slave and plantation-like wages of $7.25 per hour for some university employees, while his coach makes about $300,000 (he didn't say that, I'm not sure if he's thought of that).  Williams and his fellow hunger strikers are part of the Living Wage Campaign and they are calling on the UVa administration to pay "living wages" to all employees.  Here are the first two paragraphs:

"I am a third year studying Political and Social Thought, and a student-athlete at the University of Virginia.  Last Friday, 12 University students began a hunger strike to protest the economic and social injustices perpetrated by the UVa administration against the vast majority of the University’s service-sector employees. I joined two days later; since then, 5 more students have joined the hunger strike, which is now closing in on in its 7th day. Although the University of Virginia - Thomas Jefferson’s brainchild and the only US university designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site - has the prestige and high moral traditions of other top institutions, levels of inequality exist here today that are reminiscent of Jefferson’s days as a slave-master and plantation owner - with one anonymous employee even referring to the University’s Grounds as “the plantation.” 

Our University seeks to distinguish itself as a caring community and prides itself on traditions of honor and student self-governance. However, in our “caring community,” hundreds of contract employees may make as little as $7.25/hour while six out of the top ten highest paid state employees in Virginia hold administrative positions at the University. Many employees, mostly women and African Americans, do not receive enough pay for their basic necessities to exist in Charlottesville, where the cost of living is nearly 10% higher than the national average. This extreme inequality has disturbed and disillusioned students for decades, many of whom have tried to grapple with issues of race, class, and poverty in and out of the classroom. We have taken every conventional route towards this goal, garnered wide student, faculty and community support - yet our pleas have been consistently ignored and workers are still paid unjust wages."

 Question: Couldn't they get the portly Michael Moore to join the  hunger strike?


16 Comments:

At 2/25/2012 4:40 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Maybe Chris Christy will convert to the left-wing and join this strike.

Actually, $7.25 an hour, and then paying payroll taxes and sales taxes, is a rough row to hoe. The minimum wage is lower today than in the 1960s, after adjustment for inflation. 50 years of economic growth and expansion of wealth, but the minimum wage has fallen---the rising tide does not lift all boats, as the incredibly glamorous JFK promised. And JFK knew what it was like to work for a minimum wage.

Still, I think these student athletes should have hunger strikes over the punitive and high tax rates paid by hedge fund managers. The hedgies have to cough up 15 percent of their earning in capital gains taxes to Uncle Sam. Is that fair?

The oppression of the wealthy in the USA is getting worse and worse. I cry a Niagara when I think of what the Koch Bros. have to endure, day after day.

Let's have a national-boo-hoo-a-thon for the wealthy---I mean, in addition to the pending GOP convention.

 
At 2/25/2012 5:02 PM, Blogger geoih said...

Between these idiots and the nitwits in your previous post (Dobbs and O'Reilly), is it any wonder that this country is a mess. Such colossal ignorance.

 
At 2/25/2012 5:03 PM, Blogger geoih said...

Between these idiots and the nitwits in your previous post (Dobbs and O'Reilly), is it any wonder that this country is a mess. Such colossal ignorance.

 
At 2/25/2012 5:19 PM, Blogger abir mandal said...

Here is a logical argument that will fail to sway any liberal: Why don't those oppressed minimum wage workers get another job that pays higher wages?

 
At 2/25/2012 5:21 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Such colossal ignorance"...

Are you talking about pseudo benny too geoih?

 
At 2/25/2012 5:36 PM, Blogger Bobby Caygeon said...

A Political and Social Thought degree? That really exists?

 
At 2/25/2012 7:09 PM, Blogger kmg said...

Michael Moore could survive a hunger strike well past election day.

 
At 2/25/2012 7:34 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Bobby: "A Political and Social Thought degree? That really exists?

Well, They like to *think* it does.

Hahahahaha

 
At 2/25/2012 8:01 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

What is the unemployment rate in Charlottesville, VA?

5.5%.

So, the economy in the city must allow for other job opportunities for the $7.25 folks.

The people are free to leave their low paying jobs, just as the protester is free to be enthralled with those people staying in their present jobs.


The football player/protester states:

"levels of inequality exist here today that are reminiscent of Jefferson’s days as a slave-master and plantation owner - with one anonymous employee even referring to the University’s Grounds as “the plantation.”

How ironic that Jefferson's deliberate design, that people would cross paths on campus and exchange ideas, would be referred to as a plantation.

The football player/protester could be making the employees aware of these 2,322 other jobs available in town as they cross paths on the Academical Village Lawn.

 
At 2/25/2012 8:52 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Correction: the unemployment rate in Charlottesville, VA is 5.0% and not 5.5%.

 
At 2/25/2012 8:58 PM, Blogger Eric H said...

"The minimum wage is lower today than in the 1960s, after adjustment for inflation."

Inflation? I thought there wasn't any inflation...

Good thing the minimum hiring rate is really $10.65/hr. There are only 26 employees making this initial wage. How's that for wage inflation?

"Williams is not on a football scholarship; he said he receives full financial aid from the university because of his family’s economic situation."

That eeevil plantation is putting him through school.

"Williams last ate around 10 p.m. Sunday night – a double-quarter-pounder with cheese and some chicken nuggets at McDonald’s – "

I guess he still has enough to go out to eat then...

 
At 2/25/2012 9:15 PM, Blogger Itchy said...

When did paying a "living wage" become a requirement for every job.

He's going to be really pissed when he finds that the going wage for a Political and Social Thought degree is about $0.00/hour.

 
At 2/25/2012 10:29 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

He'd have a point if he just stuck to the football players, who bring millions into the university and risk major physical harm every year, yet make peanuts. That really is a plantation. All the other crap he's complaining out is BS, the hourly workers make that much only because that's their market rate and if they think otherwise, they can always go elsewhere and try to get the wage they "deserve." Tough to do that with the major college sports cartel, though I suppose the players could start their own league. Eh, pointless I guess, as both the universities and major sports are about to be destroyed by online competition.

 
At 2/26/2012 1:21 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

That eeevil plantation is putting him through school.

Oh, no no no! YOU'RE the eeeevil plantation putting him through school. Those economic-based financial aid packages are all wealth transfers from taxpayers to people like him so that he feels free to major in something that will ensure he never repays any of his loans and pumps up his ego with a hunger strike. UVA isn't paying for it.

This kid is a classic example of a spoiled rich kid. He has all the leisure time in the world to major in BS subjects and go on hunger strikes at others' expense. When I was a student at UVA, I worked several jobs to pay for college and my living expenses. I didn't have time for hissy fits and majors that made me unmarketable. This kid is the poster child for eliminating college education subsidies - particularly "need-based" ones.

When did paying a "living wage" become a requirement for every job.

This brings to mind Rose Friedman's observation in "Two Lucky People". After visiting areas of the world where people lived in abject poverty, she said she realized that there seems to be no level of poverty below which humans cannot find a way to live. Of course, this must be true. If it weren't we humans would have never survived as a species. Depending on what is meant by "living" and "meeting basic needs", $7.25 per hour can be considered to be a princely sum.

 
At 2/26/2012 2:05 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"YOU'RE the eeeevil plantation putting him through school. Those economic-based financial aid packages are all wealth transfers from taxpayers to people like him so that he feels free to major in something that will ensure he never repays any of his loans and pumps up his ego with a hunger strike. UVA isn't paying for it"...

Nail meet hammer!

methinks puts in a slam dunk...

The common sense conncetion strikes again...

Re: Michael Moore...

Mendacious Michigan Manatee

 
At 2/27/2012 1:29 AM, Blogger jorod said...

These guys get scholarships, jobs, tutors, etc. And the other students get to pay for it. These ingrates have to go. Get rid of athletics. The administrators and privileged brats conspire against paying students. Kind of like the public unions and politicians conspiring against the taxpayers.

 

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