Students and faculty alike are voicing their opinions about university employees not receiving a living wage.
A bill recommending to President Shalala to improve the living wage of the University of Miami contracted workers was passed at the weekly Student Government senate meeting.
The UM Coalition for Living Wage, a student group championing the effort on campus, had an education forum on Wednesday night to discuss the living wage campaign.
Also, the UM Faculty Senate approved a proposal to set a living wage standard for certain UM employees and service contractors last Wednesday.
The main issue of the bill passed by SG senate is the students’ support of the faculty senate to improve the living wage of the University workers.
Carlos Echeverri, member of the Association of Commuter Students and JD Barbosa, Commuter South Senator, presented the bill to the Senate.
Article II of the bill stated, “the improvement shall raise the present wage to a level appropriate concerning the poverty line as determined by the national government.”
“It is a problem in the community and to raise the standards students have to participate,” said Echeverri.
“The bill is a formal recommendation from the students’ perspective about what they think about the problem,” said Barbosa.
When asked where Echeverri got the idea for this bill, he said the Miami Hurricane’s article that reported the problem as well as the Coalition for Living Wage.
The bill is an action on behalf of the students and it is a recommendation policy.
There were a lot of pros and cons discusseapproaching it from a professional business perspective.
UNICCO and Chartwells are independent companies that are contracted by the University.
One change that was brought up is the possibility to not contract these companies again.
Jon Harper, Senator, was one of the senators that were opposed to the bill because he did not want the university to take on the responsibility of increasing the wages but place the responsibility on the independent companies that employ these workers.
“We should encourage the companies to increase the wages instead of the University, which might entail increased tuition,” said Harper.
Michael Fischl, a labor law professor at UM, has said raising the standard may have significant consequences for the university, such as a rise in the cost of tuition and pay cuts in faculty salaries.
Fischl also said UNICCO employees risk losing their jobs but he thinks the economic incentive is “minimal” because competition for contracts would be eliminated and it is in the best interest of a future contractor to hire employees who have experience at the university.
He added layoffs are unlikely because “with respect to a number of campus services, they have cut the staff to the bone.”
Coalition member Shelly Stromoski said the senate’s latest effort is “a step in the right direction” but students need to be more involved.
“But in addition to the faculty senate, students need to be heard.”
“I think that tonight’s turnout is absolute proof that this is an issue that matters to out students,” she added.
About 50 students, faculty members, and community living wage advocates were present at the education forum held by the Coalition.d from a morality standpoint in