Wage raise will affect future student workers

Nearly all student workers impacted as minimum wage increases to $15 by 2022.


Infographic by Tony Flores/THE CHIMES

Melissa Hedrick, Writer

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to increase minimum wage to $15 by 2022, a change that will affect the vast majority of student workers at Biola.

Unexpected change

The minimum wage, currently $10, would increase to $10.50 in 2017, $11 in 2018 and an additional dollar a year until all large businesses pay their employees a minimum wage of $15 by 2022. During the school year, approximately 1,100 to 1,300 students work on campus and almost all of them will be affected by the new wage rate.

“I would say nearly all of them are under 15 [dollars an hour] but again, we don’t have to hit 15 [dollars] until 2022. But a lot of them, because we just had two minimum wage hikes, are right at 10 [dollars] or just a little bit above 10 [dollars] so it’s going to impact us this January,” said Ron Mooradian, senior director of Human Resources.

Few people expected this change, which came on quickly as lawmakers reached a deal with labor unions rather than going through with the prior plan for minimum wage to be on the November 2016 ballot. Since the recent release of this news, Biola has not yet created a plan on how to deal with the increase.

Unprecendented Increase

“We have time to figure out how we’re going to deal with that and put together a long term plan for dealing with the rise of minimum wage. We’re not going to do that overnight. This is an unprecedented increase and we have to think a lot about it and make sure we do it the best way we can,” Mooradian said.

It is unclear how this wage raise will influence a raise in tuition or decrease the number of jobs.

“A lot of factors go into the cost of tuition and labor is one of them but student labor [cost] isn’t nearly as significant as staff and faculty labor cost. If it would have an impact on tuition I would expect it would be a small one,” Mooradian said. “Are there going to be less student jobs? I think that’s a possibility because it may get to the point where some jobs just aren’t worth paying 15 dollars an hour for.”

After Brown signed the bill, he expressed that minimum wages may not make sense economically but do make sense morally, socially and politically. Biola lecturer of politics and economics Paul Rood commented on this statement.

political strategy

“I thought it was a somewhat honest statement although I don’t think it makes moral sense so much as it makes political sense because minimum wage is very popular, most of the polls that are done on this issue, depending on how it is phrased, is 80 percent popular support for increasing the minimum wage,” Rood said. “I view it as a political strategy that makes people feel good but ultimately has a negative impact especially on young people.”

Debate remains whether a raise in minimum wage will stimulate the economy or raise unemployment, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that for March 2015 to March 2016, people ages 16 to 24 incur the highest level of unemployment ranging from approximately 8 to 19 percent. The unemployment rate for all ages has hovered around 5 percent.

Students, such as senior math major Joseph Harp, expressed that they felt it mainly benefits older generations rather than students.

“I think it’s good for families that they can support their children with better care but I’m not too sure if that’s going to do ultimate good for business or society in general cause I just think if it’s 10 to 15, it is a big shift,” Harp said.

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