Minimum wage increases for Augsburg students

Jen Kochaver, Staff Writer

Upon returning to school in the new year, Augsburg students employed on campus may have noticed a small bump in their paycheck despite working their typical hours. This is because on Jan. 1, Augsburg University and other large businesses in Minneapolis raised their minimum wage to $10 an hour. This is the first increase since 2016 when it was changed from $9 to $9.50.
This most recent raise is the first in a series of increases in accordance with the Minneapolis City Council decision to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15. The city has until July 1, 2022 to phase our minimum wage up to $15 as a large business; small businesses have until 2024 to adjust. A large business is any business employing 100 or more people. Minneapolis has regularly scheduled income increases planned throughout the next four years as scheduled by the ordinance. The next increase, from $10-$11.25, will take place on July 1 of this year.
Though the $15 minimum wage decision made by city council followed strong community activism urging the council to vote yes, this decision was not without pushback. Four organizations, including the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, sued the city over this minimum wage change; however all but one organization backed out of the suit in late December.
Half a dollar more per hour may not seem like a mind-blowing raise, but, in aggregate, this is significant news for student workers. Working 20 hours a week not including Spring or semester breaks, a student can now make $300 more per academic year –– money that could be put towards, for example, a semester of textbooks. Once the minimum wage is up to $15 an hour, students working 20 hours a week will make approximately $9,000 throughout the academic year. That is $3,300 more per year than students would have been making at $9.50 per hour.
One question left unanswered in this transitionary period is how, if at all, this change will impact the compensation for Augsburg RAs. Their current compensation divides out to exactly $9.50 an hour, and though the minimum wage has changed for other student employees as of this month, RAs are not expecting to see any change in compensation, at least not this semester.
In any case, Augsburg student employees should find their morning Einstein’s a bit more affordable this semester, and now is not a bad time to pick up an on-campus job.

This article first appeared in the Friday, January 26, 2018, Edition of The Echo.