Opinion

Minimum wage at Wartburg

In five years, the price of the famous dollar McDouble has risen to $1.39, but the minimum wage in Iowa has remained stagnant for the past 10 years. Minimum wage is not intended to be lived on but wages should coincide with a growing economy.

Student employment is crucial for any college to operate smoothly. Wartburg students seek employment in anything from dining services, to personal trainers and office assistants. Students rely on this income as walking around money, rent money or even paying part of tuition during their time at Wartburg.

Student Employment Coordinator Abbie Raum said there must be a “balance” between the employer and student. The employee must remember the money stems from somewhere. In order to accommodate employers would have to budget accordingly.

Students who are not satisfied with their current salary should seek positions with opportunity for raises or higher starting pay. Maintenance and Dining Services operate on an incentive based system.

As of June 2017, student assistants will receive a pay raise to $8.25 per hour and student manager will move to $9.00 per hour. After 200 hours of work a pay increase will be granted.

In the U.S., Federal Work-Study is a form of federal financial aid funding for on-campus employment. Students who are granted Work-Study receive the same hourly rate but the money is put towards paying for tuition.

Many students at Wartburg receive Federal Work-Study awards. The college also devotes 2.1-percent of their budget to pay students. Many colleges rely solely on Federal Work-Study to pay students.

International students are allowed to work for Wartburg as a work study. If they want to extend their employment outside of campus, a worker’s visa is required. This can be very restricting for many students who would like to seek employment elsewhere with an employer who is willing to pay above the minimum wage as a starting pay.

Senior Eric Dunkel has been working in operations and maintenance during his time at Wartburg. Due to the flexible hours and generous raises, Dunkel has had a positive student employment history on campus.

“I now receive $9.25 an hour, which I think is an acceptable rate,” Dunkel said.

Dunkel thinks it’s not all about the money, but the relations he has built with his employers. They are more valuable to him in the business world. By having an outstanding record of employment, he knows he can turn to his employer for letters of recommendation.

As the economy continues to grow, the minimum wage will eventually follow. In Iowa, however, it is possible for a single individual to live off of minimum wage. A lavish lifestyle will not coincide with minimum wages but that is where incentives and the desire to excel in the workplace comes into the equation.

A salary should not be looked at as a hand out but rather a baseline with options to grow.

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