Campus Workers, SEIU Local 1 Housekeepers Win Path to $15 at Washington University in St. Louis

After coming together on campus over the past year, Washington University in St. Louis campus workers and housekeepers won a path to a $15 wage, helping them support their families and communities. Starting July 1, 2021, nearly 1,200 regular and contracted workers will see their pay raised to $15 an hour, lifting the St. Louis region for all working people and illustrating the growing support for a $15 wage for working families.

“Housekeepers, graduate workers and campus workers at WashU came together across racial lines and different backgrounds to fight for the $15 we need to support our families and improve our neighborhoods,” said Local 1 WashU housekeeper Gary Johnson. “We showed our region that a $15 wage isn’t just possible, it’s essential in making St. Louis a better place for all working families.”

WashU graduate workers, with the support of housekeepers and campus workers, will continue to fight for $15, a union voice and childcare to make sure WashU lives up to its mission and is a better place for all working people.

“The increase to $15 is a really important victory for workers at WashU,” said Washington University Graduate Workers Union (WUGWU) member Grace Ward. “As a member of WUGWU, I’m proud of the coalition that came together in this fight, and I’m looking forward to continuing to organize with housekeepers, service workers, undergrads, faculty, and activists in the wider St. Louis community. Direct action works, and we’re going to keep it up.”

Support for a $15 wage for our region’s working families continues to grow as St. Louis’ third-largest employer enacts a $15 wage for a significant portion of its workforce. In May, St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones announced plans to raise employee pay in her office to $15 an hour. Forward Through Ferguson has recommended implementing a $15 wage to make the St. Louis region more equitable across racial lines. More than 2,100 janitors across the city and county will be kicking off their fight for a $15 wage in a strong new contract later this year.