The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



State wages rise, campus sees little change

Eva Binda | Monday, February 12, 2007

The Indiana House of Representatives voted Jan. 31 to increase the state’s minimum wage incrementally from $5.15 per hour to $7.50 per hour by Sept. 1, 2008 – a move that will have “little impact” on the University’s staff and student employees, said a member of Notre Dame’s Department of Human Resources.

“We review our salaries every year and adjust them to be competitive with the market,” said Human Resources Manager of Compensation Violet Bloom.

Only one pay level is currently below $7.50 per hour, she said.

Kathy Stopczynski, chair of the Staff Advisory Council, said she “really hasn’t heard too much discussion on this [matter],” especially since the wages in her own department are currently above minimum wage.

Stopczynski also said this topic has not been brought up at Staff Advisory Council meetings.

Nick Krafft, leader of Notre Dame’s Campus Labor Action Project (CLAP), which aims to secure a “living wage” for all campus staff members, said this legislative move is a “good thing.” However, he said he would like the administration to “take a harder look at these issues. We just hope the administration will continue to work with CLAP towards making Notre Dame a better place to work.”

A living wage is the hourly rate of income that a worker in a specific area must make in a 40-hour workweek to support a family of four. To establish a living wage at Notre Dame, CLAP has suggested a minimum $12.10 per-hour wage, or $25,164 a year, for University employees.

Unlike full-time staff members, Notre Dame’s student employees may eventually see a pay increase as a result of the Indiana bill.

Currently, determining the student minimum wage is “part of the greater budgetary process that the University goes through each year”, said Joe Russo, director of Student Finance Strategies in the Office of Financial Aid.

Students at Notre Dame have typically been paid well above the state minimum wage of $5.15 per hour, Russo said, and increases to the base salary are considered each year.

The student minimum wage for the 2006-07 academic year is currently $6.75 per hour. This is considered the basic rate, according to the Student Employment Web site. The intermediate rate is $7.15 per hour, and the skilled rate is $7.65 per hour.

“Another increase is scheduled to go into effect this summer, raising the minimum hourly rate to $6.90,” Russo said.

Russo said while the move by the Indiana House has not immediately affected on-campus student employees, the University budget cycle for 2008-09 will likely “take into account any changes to the minimum wage law.”

“We would hope that a higher minimum wage would give students a better opportunity to earn additional resources to help meet some of their educational expenses,” Russo said.