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College Students Rally for Higher Housekeeper Wages

May 13, 2019

More than 100 students at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, joined housekeepers and members of the Bowdoin Labor Alliance for a rally last week to call on the college to raise the living wage for facilities workers, the Portland Press Herald reports.

The rally culminated a yearlong campaign by Bowdoin Labor Alliance students, workers and alumni after the Bowdoin Orient student newspaper published a story about the wages of the housekeeping staff. The group was rallying for the college to raise the starting wage from US$12.25 an hour to $15 an hour.

Under a new wage plan starting July 1, Bowdoin housekeepers will make an average of $14.95 per hour, an increase from the current $13.97 per hour. While this is above the average housekeeper salary of $11.28 in Cumberland County, ME, it is also below the $18.73 it would require for the average renter to afford a two-bedroom home in Brunswick.

After the rally, speakers and attendees marched to the office of Bowdoin President Clayton Rose to deliver a petition with over 1,000 signatures, demanding a living wage for all Bowdoin workers. College officials believe Bowdoin housekeepers are paid a fairly as wages are above the state and county average and include a competitive benefits package.

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