On April 6, students at Northeastern University made history by winning a student referendum vote to implement the nation’s first campus-wide $15/hr minimum wage. The initiative passed with 76.4% of the vote.
Not only did these students break ground nationally by becoming the first campus to demand $15, they broke ground at Northeastern by smashing all previous election records. While the referendum does not immediately raise wages for campus workers, it shows a clear mandate to address the issue of income inequality on campus and forces the Administration to act.
With a coalition of 9 progressive student groups on campus, 15 Now Northeastern is poised to put their university on the front lines of the fight for wage equality nationwide. Northeastern students are speaking out and fighting back against wage inequality on their campus.
“There’s an unusual buzz on campus,” says Elan Axelbank, a Northeastern student and one of the main organizers of the campaign. “You’d be walking around campus during voting week and just hear random groups of people talking about 15, it was awesome.”
The president of Northeastern, Joseph Aoun, is the second highest paid university president in the country, earning over $3.12 million in 2011. In the face of many campus workers earning poverty wages, this is unacceptable. With the support of the student body, and along side campus workers, 15 Now Northeastern will be demanding public negotiations with the school’s administration. This will be a difficult and heated process, considering the antagonistic history of Northeastern’s administration towards progressive campaigns on campus. Nonetheless, Northeastern students are ready to take on their administration and demand $15 for all campus workers!
We need to build on this victory by spreading 15 Now to every campus, city and neighborhood in the country. The movement for a living wage is growing and winning more and more victories every week. On April 15th, workers, students, and community members will be marching in over 200 cities nationwide to demand $15/hr for all workers.