Fight 4 $15 Battle of Wage Compression

The Fight for 15 and the Battle of Wage Compression: CWA Local 4730 Proposals to IU Trustees

First, we want to thank the Trustees for the steps taken in recent years to increase the minimum wage of appointed IU Support Staff to $10.15 per hour in addition to the university’s substantial benefits package, despite weak funding for higher education in Indiana. We recognize and appreciate that this wage is above Indiana’s minimum of $7.25. However, it is still well below the City of Bloomington’s living wage ordinance of $12.32 (for 2016) and $12.44 (for 2017).1 A nationwide effort – the Fight for 15 – is now underway for a minimum hourly wage of $15.00 and it is time for CWA Local 4730 to add its voice to the discussion.

Why should we join the Fight for 15? The short answer is that even that amount is less than the “2016 Self-Sufficiency Wage” from the Indiana Institute for Working Families for just one adult and one preschooler in the counties from which IU Support Staff is drawn. “Less” means part of IU’s full-time workforce is depending on tax dollars for food stamps, free school lunches, and Section 8 housing. “Less” means not contributing to the economic stability of the community, not paying taxes for the common good. Support Staff employees currently earning $25,000 ($12.02 per hour) a year and living in Monroe County with two dependents are eligible for Food Stamps ($511 monthly); one earning $30,000 ($14.42 per hour) and living in Monroe with three dependents is eligible for $649 monthly, per the Indiana Family and Social Service Administration.2 Additionally, the small 2% raises of recent years from a Wage Progression Schedule that originated in the 1990s have resulted in demoralizing wage compression, with new hires sometimes being paid wages greater than employees with several years of experience.

The following shows the wage ranges and number of support staff compiled by CWA Local 4730 at each level at IUB and NW, showing that 524 Support Staff at IUB and IUN currently earn less than $15 an hour.

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