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As Illinois minimum wage increases, most student wages won’t

On July 1, the minimum wage for Illinois was raised to $10. It will become $11 on Jan. 1, 2021.

As the minimum wage increases in the state of Illinois, the question remains: will Bradley follow the increase for student employees?

According to the Illinois Department of Labor’s website, the minimum wage rate is currently at $10 per hour and will increase by a dollar each year until reaching $15 per hour by January 2025.

When The Scout reached out to university chief financial officer Jeff Blade, the office released an email statement on Bradley’s response to the increase.

“The increase coming in January will have minimal effect at Bradley,” Crystal Elliott, director of human resources, said in an email statement. “Only a handful of non-student employees will be under the new state minimum wage and will be adjusted accordingly.”

The university will not be raising its rates and isn’t required to under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The legal exemption only requires colleges and universities to pay student workers 85 percent of the minimum wage for on-campus jobs. 

“I think it was unfair of the university to not raise the minimum wage,” Jem Salomon, a senior health science major, said in an email interview. “A lot of students need it, lots of them are working because they need to pay rent, loans, feed themselves, etc. So, with Bradley not raising the minimum wage, it feels like they’re not catering to their students’ living needs and that their work within the university is not valued as much as it should.”

Salomon works at Markin Recreation Center. When the minimum wage was raised by the state in January of this year to $9.25, Markin followed suit and raised workers’ wages and raised the wage for supervisors to $10. 

Salomon was surprised, but also realized that many of her peers were not as fortunate.

“Although Markin was nice enough to raise their minimum wage and I was lucky enough to be part of that work system, this still frustrates me because lots of other students in many areas of the university work just as hard, and even harder, than me,” Salomon said. “It’s important for students to be paid fairly for their work and for their university to recognize that.” 

Carlie Heaton, a student supervisor at the Cullom-Davis Library, had her wage raised by the Library, but expressed her disappointment with how the university is handling the overall situation.

“I think that it is extremely unfair that only a select few student workers received a raise. Some of the workers that did receive a raise were already making over minimum wage,” Heaton, a senior psychology major, said. “I also believe that Bradley has been taking advantage of their student workers for some time now.” 

When asked whether or not other students have expressed their concerns, Heaton said student workers have sent numerous emails to the provost to address the problem. It usually comes down to a decision made by the supervisor. 

“The response is always the same: empty promises,” Heaton said. “We are very lucky to have Chrystal Pehm and Kari Garman as our supervisors here at the library. They have advocated and worked very hard to help us receive the raise that we so deserve. I think I speak for all of their student workers when I say that their help in this matter is greatly appreciated.”

 

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