Student Senate Considers 15 dollar Minimum Wage for Student Workers

Photo courtesy of Dickinson College

Photo courtesy of Dickinson College

Student Senators Jackson Ohlson-Johnson ’22 and John Dylan Bustillo ’22 introduced a proposal to increase wages for student workers to meet a 15 dollar minimum wage. The two authors said that “upon having conversations with friends and fellow students we came to the consensus that student wages have fallen out of line with many of the financial realities faced by student workers.”

The proposal seeks to eventually raise the minimum wage for Dickinson students to 15 dollars and hour—the amount that has been widely proposed on the national level, including by President Biden—and would create an automatic three percent increase in student wages each year to keep pace with the average annual increase in tuition. But this change would not be complete until 2025.

Currently the student worker pay structure has four categories for hourly wages—Category A ($7.40-$7.90), Category B ($7.55-$8.05), Category C ($7.80-$8.30) and Category D ($8.05-$8.55).

The proposal would first increase the minimum wage to 12 dollars per hour by Sep. 3 2021, and then calls that “increases should be given in $0.10 increments up to $0.50 per semester, not to exceed the category maximum, at the department’s discretion.”

Ohlson-Johnson and Bustillo propose that the pay scale ultimately be increased so to be Category A ($15.00-$15.50), Category B ($16.00-$16.50), Category C ($17.00-$17.50) and Category D ($18.00-$18.50) by Jan. 20 2025.

The bill also calls for wage increases for all college employees and would establish “a president’s working group on the implementation”  which would “establish a baseline of employee satisfaction and to evaluate the effectiveness of the student wage rate.” The panel would include a non-voting member from student senate to advocate for student workers.

The proposal was discussed at the Student Senate meeting on Feb. 16, and Ohlson-Johnson and Bustillo told The Dickinsonian that “from our perspective many of our fellow student senators seemed very receptive to the idea providing insightful inquiry which has only made the resolution all the better” though they also recognized that “Dickinson attracts a wide array of individuals with differing backgrounds and beliefs and when presenting a massively consequential resolution such as ours there will often be a plurality of opinions.”

The two also told The Dickinsonianit is our opinion then that reasonable progress has been made in the advancement of a refined resolution that could provide tangible financial relief to Dickinson students.