New Law Requires Salary Minimums to be Raised

Wendi L. Vaughn

A proposal to bring the wages of student workers up to the new state minimum wage came before the college Board of Trustees Monday. The board voted to table the issue until April.

At the beginning of this year, a law was passed requiring colleges to pay student campus workers the state minimum wage, not the lower federal rate.

Currently California’s minimum wage is $6.25, but GCC students are only being paid $5.75.

Trustee Robert Holmes advocates paying students more money immediately. He also feels that the college should be responsible for retroactive payments from Jan. 1.

According to the proposal before the board, the Student Assistant Classification series should be reallocated the following salaries in compliance with the state minimum wage:

Student Assistant 1, $6.25; Student Assistant 2, $6.50; and Student Assistant 3, $6.75. All rates are hourly.

Office Assistant and Peer Advisor are examples of the types of jobs rated at Student Assistant 3. The lower-level classifications require fewer skills and responsibilities.

“It is time for the students to get a raise,” said Victor Castellanos, President of ASGCC.

“Raising student assistant salary is a good idea,” said Larry Serot Vice president of Finance. “But where is the money going to come from? That is what we have to work on now.

“In January of next year California’s minimum wage is going to jump up to $6.75. We have to try and adjust our budget for that as well.”

“They decided to table the issue instead of talking about it,” said Castellanos. “But I feel at the very least it should have been passed so students could get the money they need now.”

However, there is a downside to the salary increase. There is no extra money being given to the school to increase the salaries, which subsequently means there will be fewer jobs to go around and possible cuts in hours.

“I believe in the salary increase,” said Castellanos, “give them what they are due, but not if it means students will lose jobs.”