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Encyclopedia > Georgetown Solidarity Committee

Georgetown Solidarity Committee (GSC) is a student organization at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, that takes action to support the struggles of service workers on the Georgetown campus as well as workers around the world. GSC was created in 1997 and is a chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS).[1] Georgetown University, incorporated as the The President and Directors of the College of Georgetown, is a private university in the United States, located in Georgetown, a historic neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded on January 23, 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll, it is both the oldest Roman Catholic and oldest... United Students Against Sweatshops. ...


Hunger Strike, March 2005

GSC gained widespread notoriety during March 2005 when 26 student activists engaged in a hunger strike, refusing to eat until Georgetown adopted a living wage policy.[2] The proposed policy was created by student members of GSC and MEChA de Georgetown with campus workers, especially contracted janitors, and included provisions to guarantee all campus workers a living wage, basic benefits and the right to organize unions. Living wage refers to the minimum hourly wage necessary for a person to achieve a basic standard of living. ... This article is about the term used in science fiction, anime, and manga. ...


Since 2001, campus workers and GSC had been negotiating with Georgetown administrators, including President John DeGioia and Vice Presidents Daniel Porterfield and Spiros Dimolitsas. As Georgetown is a Jesuit university dedicated to social justice ideals, the administrators were genuinely concerned to learn about injustices occurring at their instution. However, the administrators did little more than create a series of committees to discuss living wages and others of campus workers' issues. The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu), commonly known as the Jesuits, is a Roman Catholic religious order. ... Social justice refers to conceptions of justice applied to an entire society. ...


Students and workers eventually were frustrated by years of committee discussion with virtually no concrete change. In 2004, the students created a broader group of student activists called the Georgetown Living Wage Coalition and engaged in a direct action campaign for living wages. The coalition gained momentum by holding rallies and marches, performing plays and organizing a series of other colorful actions and educational events. Campus workers, especially Latin@ immigrant contract janitors, courageously risked their livelihoods by speaking at rallies and to the press about the injustices they faced at Georgetown, defying the looming threat of firing or harassment by their employer for speaking. By March 15 2005, when administrators still rejected the proposed living wage policy, students decided to increase the pressure by launching a hunger strike.[3] Direct action is a form of political activism which seeks immediate remedy for perceived ills, as opposed to indirect actions such as electing representatives who promise to provide remedy at some later date. ...


The students refused to eat for 10 days before Georgetown finally adopted their current "Just Employment Policy" [4]. During those 10 days, the campaign received major media attention (including several articles in the Washington Post) and enjoyed the support from labor unions, religious leaders and many others across the United States.[5] ...


External Links

References

  • "GU Activists Go Hungry To Help Janitors", The Washington Post, March 21 2005
  • "Compromise Ends Hunger Strike", Inside Higher Ed, March 25 2005
  • "Students Declare Win, Break Fast", National Catholic Reporter, April 15 2005

 
 

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