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Columbia students will get $15 minimum wage in next three years; grad students still whining

Those very well-off Ivy League students at Columbia will soon be even more well off.

The Columbia Daily Spectator reports that the school is jacking the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next three years, affecting all work-study and part-time student workers:

The change comes after lobbying from student activists on Columbia’s campus including Student-Worker Solidarity, as well as efforts from activists nationwide to secure workers a $15 minimum wage. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also have committed to implementing a $15 minimum wage for public employees.

The email from Provost John Coatsworth, reprinted by the Spectator, doesn’t tell students how the pay increase will be structured, much less funded:

We have been reviewing alternatives and will be working with our schools and administrative business units across the Morningside campus and at the Medical Center to develop fiscally responsible plans.

Columbia started paying Campus Services workers $15 an hour in October, Coatsworth said.

This being elite Columbia, student activists had a press release ready right away. But not just any release: The College Fix heard from their PR firm, which emailed this statement from “Paul Katz, a graduate worker and third year PhD student in Columbia’s History Department”:

“We’re glad the provost and administration are responding to student workers’ calls for better pay and recognizing that workers need a minimum of $15 an hour to try to get by in New York City. Unfortunately, the Columbia administration is still falling short on a commitment to graduate workers on adequate pay and a recognition of our union.”

Katz has been doing this for a while, drumming up interest in a grad student union in the prior school year.

Read the Spectator story.

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