Spring Editorial Board 2016
As inflation continues to devalue the dollar, the eternal struggle toward higher minimum wages trudges on.
Specifically, it has made traction here at Auburn University. Auburn’s “Living the Creed” movement, led by students and professors, aims to persuade the University to raise the wages earned by University faculty members.
It’s an initiative that’s already been completed at universities such as Stanford, Harvard and Georgetown, where wages have been raised for faculty and contract workers.
“No one who works full time should be poor,” said professor Diana Eidson, one of the leaders of Living the Creed. “People have the right to a wage that fulfills basic needs and that gives them dignity and a way to provide for their families.”
Currently, Auburn employs 162 full-time workers whose earnings don’t reach the federal poverty line for Lee County.
As of January 2016, there are 473 full-time Auburn University employees making below the living wage as put forth by Economic Policy Institute for Lee County.
The movement’s goal is to raise the University minimum wage to $13.98, the base hourly rate deemed to provide workers with a wage that not only exceeds the poverty line, but reaches the threshold of a living wage, according to the EPI.
It would cost the University $1,909,687.40 a year to bring all full-time employees up to a living wage, according to the EPI calculations.
To do this, tuition could be raised by about $70 per student.
We believe this effort is noble and hope it becomes actualized.
The Auburn Family needs to make sure it looks out not only for its most obvious members — students, professors, administrators — but also for those members who live on the fringes of Auburn University — people whose livelihoods center on making our lives go more smoothly.
If a man who works as a security monitor at Auburn can’t keep his house warm in the winter for himself and his family, that makes our lives poorer.
If a mother who works as a groundskeeper has to decide between feeding her children healthy foods or buying them new clothes, that makes our lives more frustrating.
The Auburn Creed calls us to recognize that we live in a practical world in which we should only expect to earn what we work for.
It calls us to cultivate the human touch to aid our fellow man.
Providing living wages for our workers is paramount to respecting our creed.
These workers provide support for students and faculty alike. They feed us when we are hungry; they clean up our messes.
If raising the University minimum wage doesn’t have an adverse effect on employment, this measure could be of great benefit to the Auburn Family.