UWT Minimum Wage Change Discussed

On Wednesday, April 1st, 2015, UWT raised its minimum wage to $11 an hour. Yet with UW Seattle and Bothell campuses paying a minimum wage of $15, many students want a pay raise. ASUWT put together a task forceall of which are volunteersto discuss a change that may need to occur. Finalized by Oct. 1st, ASUWT director of Finance Bronwyn Clarke organized, monitored, and presented the task force and their recommendations to ASUWT campus leaders.

The task force hosted an online poll asking students their take on the minimum wage situation. 565 students responded. The results show that 56% of students want the $12 minimum wage. Another 28% want our campus to follow suit with UW Seattle and Bothell with the $15 minimum wage. The remaining 16% want our campus to create its own policy.

The task force has three recommendations to change the policy: (1) adopt the $12 minimum wage; (2) form a periodic review board to revise the wage policy annually in case changes need to be ensued; and (3) for individual UWT organizations to consider adding new jobs in order to involve more students on campus.

The Services and Activities Fee Committee (SAFC) initiated the $11 wage raise and conduct the wages for about 75 student workers total. According to Clarke and the Vice Chancellor of Finance, Harlan Patterson, the remaining student positions are taken care of financially by other UWT funding sources. With implementing the wage increase, 10 student positions were eliminated as the “result of a cost-saving merger.” The responsibilities of these jobs were given to other positions. According to Clarke, “Of all student employees, about 60% are at the $11 mark, with the remainder being paid higher wages.”

A potential downside of raising the minimum wage Clarke talks about is the potential fee increase. In case of a $15 minimum wage, student fees may increase and have us pay more to do clubs and activities. Senior Zvon Casanova does not favor the minimum wage increase. He believes the raise has the potential to reduce the number of student jobs as well as cause students’ hours to be cut.

On Nov. 30th, 2015, a group of student workers signed a petition stating that there is huge support of the minimum wage increase to “commensurate to the increase being provided to student workers at the  Seattle and Bothell campuses.” The students delivered the petition right to Chancellor Mark Pagano’s office.The petition also states that due to Tacoma paying the highest tuition/fees of any University of Washington campus, there should be no difference in treatment from one campus to the other. The group of workers want a $13 increase by Jan. 1st, 2016 and $15 by Jan. 1st, 2017. The petition was conducted by five student workers: Johari DuPont, Victoria Olive, Maryam Diriye, Shugri Hussein, and Julianna Siemssen.

The petition, that was conducted on Change.org, reached the support of the majority of student workers. While there are approximately 300 student positions on campus, the petition reached 205 people.

Photo by Anna K. Fern

Photo by Anna K. Fern

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