Rutgers student workers get minimum wage increase to $11 hour

944ff29ca501b006becf_best_5aaeb870215af8bb15f5_best_ebc47455e3faada0ed12_ru_winants_hall.jpg
944ff29ca501b006becf_best_5aaeb870215af8bb15f5_best_ebc47455e3faada0ed12_ru_winants_hall.jpg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University will be raising the campus-wide minimum wage to $11 an hour, university president Robert Barchi announced in a campus-wide email on December 11.

The move comes as a partial victory for the local labor rights group, Rutgers United Students Against Sweatshops​ (RUSAS)​, wh​ich ha​s​ been campaigning for a $15 minimum wage.

Right now, the minimum wage on campus is the state-mandated rate of $8.44 an hour. The increase goes into effect on January 1, 2018, Barchi said, and applies to all student workers and those on Federal Work Study.

Sign Up for E-News

“Despite our efforts, more than 13,000 of you still must commit many hours each week to working on your campuses to defray the cost of your education,” Barchi said. “”While holding an on-campus job can offer many benefits, we are cognizant of the delicate balance that you must strike between work and your studies.”

Members of RUSAS have spent the last year campaigning for a minimum wage increase. Their most recent efforts are part of the broader contract negotiations underway by several Rutgers faculty unions.

“Today, 13,000 workers received news that they would be receiving a raise to $11 an hour,” wrote RUSAS member Mariah Wood. “$11 an hour that was fought for tirelessly by students who were fed up.”

Yet the increase is a “partial victory,” according to RUSAS, in lieu of a increase to $15 an hour.

“$11 is not a living wage, and don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that this was an act of good will,” Wood added.

Barchi has maintained that he’s handled a precarious balance to offset the cost of tuition as much as possible.

“We run within a 1.2 percent operating margin, for a business that’s about $4.3 billion,” Barchi told students at the October board of governors meeting. “I keep it that way intentionally, I’m not going to raise the operating margin because we’re taking those dollars to keep down tuition.”

Spending outside the operating margin could result in the credit rating being lowered for Rutgers’ debt, meaning higher tuition for students, Barchi said.

“Over the last several years, I am proud that we have been able to keep tuition increases to a minimum while simultaneously strengthening our academic profile,” Barchi wrote in the December 11 email.

Many students had told stories of economic woes faced while trying to attain and education and support their living situation, all while on an $8.44 wage and without the financial support of their family.

They were “fed up not being able to pay rent, skipping meals, not being able to afford medical treatment, spending the hours they should have been studying working,” Wood added.

Daniel Taylor, a senior studying art history, told the board of governors at their October meeting that during college, he’s worked as a research assistant, painter and at dining hall.

Eventually Taylor was pushed off campus after being unable to afford room and board.

“I work because I must, not because I want to,” Taylor said. “With each passing month, my rent was paid later and later as I fell further and further behind. If I worked more hours to make up the different, my grades suffered as I struggled to keep up on assignments.”

Those working at the dining hall have also been ​charged a mandatory $3.50 deduction for meals per shift, activists have stated, which is a significant amount for the average dining hall worker making roughly $12,000 a year.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Linden

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Union County Magnet High School to Hold Silent Auction

February 22, 2018

A great night out with family and friends for just $10.  And we provide dessert and coffee/tea.

Please come to the Magnet High School PSA Silent Auction on Friday, Feb. 23, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Union County Vocational Technical School in Scotch Plains (West Hall Cafeteria). 

Tickets are only $10. You can then bid on over $12,000 worth of ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)

 

Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Letter to the Editor: Team Nick

February 16, 2018

Dear Editor:

I am an elected Scotch Plains Democratic Committeewoman and a community activist who is in the practice of speaking up for myself, so I am very disappointed by the actions of acting Union County Democratic Chair Colleen Mahr.

I have endorsed Senator Nick Scutari for Union County Democratic Chair. So, you can imagine my surprise when I found that Ms. Mahr had sent a ...