New affiliate in Tenn. at Vanderbilt

Adam DeRose |

IWJ is proud to welcome Organized and United for Respect at Vanderbilt (OUR Vanderbilt) as a new interfaith group to our affiliate network.

OUR Vanderbilt Organizer Benjamin Eagles said the IWJ network was a good fit for the organization because they strategically work with community clergy on campaigns and have local pastors on their board. Eagles also participated in IWJ’s seminary summer internship program.

Vanderbilt ChapelStudent and community support has existed for workers at Vanderbilt over the years. Student groups and community-labor coalitions have worked on Vanderbilt’s campus to raise the floor wages from $6.50 an hour in 2004 to $10.78 an hour today for unionized workers.

No organization was formed to continue bringing together the allied groups and campaigns, until 2011 when workers, students, faculty, alumni and community members formed OUR Vanderbilt.

“OUR Vanderbilt is trying to institutionalize the community support for workers and organize both organized and unorganized workers,” Eagles said.

OUR Vanderbilt is currently working on a Justice for Dining Workers campaign.

“The majority of the Vanderbilt dining workers face layoffs during the breaks, especially summer break, but Vanderbilt prevents the workers from filing for unemployment. So we have people living in poverty despite the wage floor,” Eagles said.