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CLAP will deliver report to admins

Kate Antonacci | Monday, February 26, 2007

Members of Campus Labor Action Project (CLAP) will spend this morning delivering copies of their new “Living Wage Report 2007” to administrators – including Univer-sity President Father John Jenkins – and different campus work supervisors, organizers said.

“It is for the entire community,” CLAP member Nick Krafft said of the report, which he said is intended to help members of the Notre Dame community “develop a sensitivity to the experiences of lowest paid staff here at Notre Dame and to work with us toward a better reality.”

Krafft said the report – which was compiled primarily by Krafft and junior Katie McHugh – will also be delivered to Executive Assistant to the President Frances Shavers, Associate Vice President of Human Resources Bob McQuade and Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves.

The living wage issue is one the report calls “urgent” – and one that Krafft said revolves around the workers.

“Our primary point is that workers here need to feel that they are actually part of the Notre Dame family,” Krafft said. “You can throw around a lot of rhetoric about how they are [part of the family] but we want to actually see that in practice.”

Krafft said he and other CLAP members have been disappointed to find that many workers don’t feel a part of the Notre Dame community.

The workers have thus been the guiding force behind the report and Krafft said he hopes it reflects such a message.

Some demands in the report include a meeting between CLAP representatives, workers, students, faculty and administrators to discuss wage issues. The report also asks for the establishment of a joint task force and a public statement by Jenkins “affirming 115 years of Catholic social teaching on the right of all workers to a living wage this semester.” Most significant for CLAP, perhaps, is the implementation of a $12.50 per hour wage with a yearly Cost of Living Adjustment based on the Consumer Price Index to cover all Notre Dame employees.

The report also outlines the “economic facts and Catholic tradition supporting years of study on the living wage” – the most tangible of which, Krafft said, is increasing wages.

“We tried to focus on the wage issue,” Krafft said. “It’s easier to point to a number and then point to what the number should be and say that there’s a discrepancy here.”

A living wage is defined in the report as the hourly rate of income that “a worker in a specific area must make in a 40-hour workweek to support a family of four.” In calculating living wage for staff members living in South Bend, seven factors were considered: housing, transportation, taxes, food, healthcare, basic necessities and miscellaneous expenses.

“It does not include amenities such as new school clothes, birthday parties, family trips, a home library, and entertainment,” the report said.

For the report, members of CLAP did not talk to any workers directly, Krafft said, because, over the past few years, so many relationships have been formed that the group is “kind of organically able to get that stuff into the report.”

As for how the report will be received, Krafft said he thinks it’s easy for the administration to just wave this away and say that the group is coming from an idealistic perspective.

“But [the report] reminds them that we’re really serious about doing something … not just going to come at them with rhetoric,” Krafft said. “We hope that this helps further our working relationship with them though, we really do.”

Because of their limited budget, Krafft said he hopes that students will look at the Web site – www.campuslaboractionproject.org – to read an online copy.

“Honestly we would love people on campus to have this report because everyone who’s part of the Notre Dame family should know what’s going on in other areas of the family,” Krafft said.