Chancellor meeting with protesters

Students urge more pay for Washington University employees.
Thursday, April 21, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:16 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 6, 2008

ST. LOUIS — Washington University’s chancellor told students staging a sit-in that he will meet with them again, but he wants it to be after they end their protest.

The sit-in was in its 17th day on Wednesday.

Thirteen students are staging the sit-in at the undergraduate admissions office at the St. Louis school. They are seeking better wages and benefits for about 500 contract workers in jobs like grounds keeping and food service. A group of students also held a six-day hunger strike but ended that Saturday.

The students also want the school to agree not to interfere if more workers attempt to unionize, said protester Varun Chalivendra, 18.

Chancellor Mark Wrighton has said the university does not attempt to influence independent contract service companies or their employees on labor issues.

He told the students the university has started addressing their concerns about better salary and benefits for contract workers on campus, according to a statement.

The school also said it had a meeting Tuesday with university employees who work for service contractors.

Meanwhile, the two sides were disagreeing about discussions this past weekend.

The university believed an agreement with students had been reached and the protesters would end their hunger strike and sit-in. The school said students outside the meeting then attempted to change the terms.

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