Student activists at IC pushed the Ithaca College administration to honor its commitment to pay a living wage, by pressing Sodexo. These students were supported behind the scenes by the Workers’ Center and by an outpouring of community support and pressure. For example, Rich Rose, the pastor of the First Baptist Church met personally with the President of Ithaca College to impress upon him the importance of doing this. After an eight-month campaign, over 120 workers experienced a huge wage increase, some as much as 35%! That is a big influence on a lot of people’s lives!
Kate moved to the Ithaca area in 2011. A gentle, diminutive woman who laughs easily, Kate comes from a working class background, and grew up on the west coast. Having served as an administrator for a large nonprofit, and as a hospice chaplain, she has seen a lot in her lifetime. Her plan was to make Ithaca her dream town, to move here, build a house, and settle in. She picked the area because of the natural beauty and because it felt open-minded.
Though she had years of experience in profit and non-profit management and pastoral care, the only full time job she was able to find was in the dining services at Ithaca College. This was after the victory in 2011, so she directly benefitted from that wage increase, and was making a living wage when she started. She worked at Sodexo for approximately two years, and then was able to find work in her field. She feels she was given wage increases partly due to the living wage initiative from the student living wage campaign. She is grateful that Sodexo hired her and grateful to the Workers’ Center and to all who worked to secure a living wage.