Nearly 100 graduate workers, housekeepers and food service workers hold ‘All I Want for Christmas is $15 at WashU’ rally

DELIVERING THE MESSAGE that Washington University in St. Louis could deliver some holiday cheer to campus graduate workers, housekeepers and food service workers sang carols and marched outside the Board of Trustees meeting recently to demand $15/hour, union rights and childcare for campus workers. – WashU Grad Workers Union photo

Demand $15/hour, union rights, childcare for campus workers

In the spirit of Mariah Carey’s iconic holiday hit, nearly 100 Washington University graduate workers, food service workers and SEIU Local 1 housekeepers and faculty, sang carols and held a “All I Want for Christmas Is $15 at WashU” rally and march outside the university’s Board of Trustees meeting Friday, Dec. 6.

Dressed in ugly holiday sweaters and Santa hats, rally participants rang silver bells before attempting to head inside to the Board of Trustees meeting, where they intended to deliver 1,700 petition signatures from community supporters. However, the Board refused to meet with them, locking participants out while workers sang carols outside. 


“This holiday season, while most parents are thinking about presents for their kids, I’m working three jobs just to put food on the table,” said SEIU Local 1 housekeeper Crystal Wells. “But it doesn’t have to be this way. WashU is the fifth-largest employer in the state. It can do the right thing and lift wages and provide childcare for the working people of this campus.” 

“With a $8.5 billion endowment, WashU can do the right thing and offer the fair compensation we need to support our families,” said WashU graduate worker Nathan Walsh. “Meanwhile, similar institutions like Duke are setting a $15 wage on campus. It’s up to WashU to be a leader for our entire region by raising wages to $15 and guaranteeing union rights and childcare for campus workers.”


While WashU is considered a top-tier university and a leader in St. Louis County, many of the working people who keep it running are struggling to get by on wages as low as $10 an hour.

With an $8.5 billion endowment and as the fifth-largest employer in Missouri, the campus workers who keep WashU running every single day shouldn’t have to struggle to support their families.

By raising wages to $15/hour, guaranteeing union rights and ensuring childcare for thousands of campus workers and graduate workers, WashU could be a leader in lifting St. Louis County communities.


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