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Groups show employees' gratitude - The Red and Black : News

Groups show employees' gratitude

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Posted: Monday, April 21, 2008 12:00 am

UGA Living Wage and the Economic Justice Coalition held a picnic on Sunday to show their appreciation for University employees who the groups say usually go unappreciated.

Caroline Comely, a senior from Louisville, Ky., said UGA Living Wage's primary goal is to increase employees' take-home pay.

"Currently, employees' wages leave them below the poverty line, making it extremely hard to support themselves and their families," Comley said. "This is just a way to show our appreciation."

Matthew Pulver, a University library assistant, said the Living Wage campaign has been active on campus since 2002, but the group is troubled by the administration's lack of response.

At the picnic, students and employees could sign a petition to increase wages for workers. The petition will be sent to University President Michael Adams on May 1.

"The administration claims it has no funds to raise wages, but manages to free up tens of millions of dollars - several times what a wage increase would require - for building projects like the Tate Student Center expansion and proposed statue of Vince Dooley," said Matthew Boynton, a sophomore from Roswell.

Linda Lloyd, director for the Economic Justice Coalition, said if the University would increase its wages, it would help the 30 percent poverty rate in Athens, since the University is Athens' largest employer.

Kathryn Davis, a 16-year veteran at Snelling Dining Hall, said she heard about UGA Living Wage because of its rally in February. She said she is one of the lowest-paid employees at the University, and work has gotten worse over the years.

"Everybody deserves a living wage and doing community outreach like this is beneficial for students and community members alike," said Alexis Ruiz, a sophomore from Acworth.

"The university community could not function without their contributions, and so we want to let them know that their work does not go unnoticed," Comely said.

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