Campus Living Wage Manual
V. Building Support
for Your Campaign
Once you've decided that workers are interested in a living wage campaign, you need to build support for the idea. If there isn't an already strong student group taking on the campaign, start to build an informal organization of people who want to work on the issue. Begin by having regular meetings, which you can advertise to students, faculty, and administrators, to talk about and plan for a campaign.
You'll really have to hustle to get a good turnout at your meetings, so here are some ways to spread the word:
Flyering. Put up some simple flyers that give the meeting time and just ask people who are interested in discussing a campus living wage campaign to come by. The flyers should be fairly non-specific, as you don't want to start campaigning quite yet; you just want to find people who are interested. Remember, even with mass flyering, there is no substitute for face-to-face recruitment to get turnout.
Talk to existing student groups. Visit other student groups to announce your meetings and answer questions. Anti-sweatshop groups on campus may have already done some living wage campaigning for factory workers that make college apparel. If your school has a "Licensing Code of Conduct" that does mention a living wage, this can be a great starting point for a campus campaign. Also ask the anti-sweatshop group if your school is participating in the Wisconsin Living Wage Study. A campus living wage is an excellent way to "bring home" anti-sweatshop work.
Talk to faculty. Have discussions with faculty you know about the issue. Also, look for professors that teach "liberal" courses - on labor history, civil rights or poverty, for example. Faculty support can add a lot of credibility to your campaign.
Make announcements in class. Just stand right up at the end of class or before it starts and announce your meeting. Be careful not to be disruptive or obnoxious, however. The last thing you want is for people to ignore your work because they think you're rude. In general, don't give people an excuse to marginalize your campaign.
Keep talking to workers. Let workers know when your meetings are and let union leaders know so that they can spread the word. In general, expect to get mostly students at your meetings. While workers are the focus and should come first, students will be the backbone of the campaign itself. Students generally have more free time. Most of us don't have families to go home to at night, we haven't been working an 8-hour shift mowing the lawn or washing dishes, and we can always sleep through our classes if we want to.
Responses to Common Anti-Living Wage Arguments from the ACORN living wage website.
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