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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, September 30, 2023
Wisconsin Union workers are frustrated after a wage change. 

Wisconsin Union workers are frustrated after a wage change. 

UW-Madison Union workers shocked by disputed pay raise

Student employees of the Wisconsin Union were ecstatic upon news of a pay raise, only to be let down when they were informed that certain units wouldn’t receive the raise.

Union employees found out that the starting wage would be increased from $9 to $10 via an email sent by Union Human Resources Director Tim Borchert. A few days later, another email was sent to explain that the pay increase would not apply to all Union positions.

According to the original email, pay rates would increase for “all positions within the following areas that are not desk jobs.” The positions listed were Facilities, Catering, Restaurants and Kitchens.

“I saw an email that I was going to be getting a pay raise, or that the Union in general would be getting a pay raise, and it wasn’t until later that I found out that the raise didn’t apply to my unit,” said Ali Kennelly, a UW-Madison senior who has worked at Peet’s Coffee for nearly a year.

Employees working in cafes and markets — such as Peet’s and Badger Market — will not be included in the change, which was outlined in an email sent by Associate Director for Dining & Hospitality Services Carl Korz.

According to Korz, the Union decided that the cafes and markets would not be given pay raise priority because they have higher rates of employment.

“The reason we were given [for not getting the raise] is that our department is not struggling to find student employees so our units don't need to offer the higher wage to attract employees,” read a statement created by a coalition of Wisconsin Union Student Employees.

The group of student employees also said they have been told not to voice their displeasure or concern to Human Resources.

Although Kennelly said she has been very happy working at Peet’s, she also said she was shocked and frustrated by the situation.

“I enjoy working at Peet’s, and it’s a very fun unit to work at,” said Kennelly, “but it still puts a little bit of a damper on going to work knowing that the Union itself didn’t acknowledge that our unit wasn’t as worthy of a raise as the other units were.”

Kennelly mentioned that her managers let herself and other Peet’s workers know immediately that they wouldn’t be getting the raise.

“Our superiors really support us and know that we work really hard and deserve to make the same amount of money that everybody else in the Union is making,” Kennelly said.

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Though he has kept up a line of communication with Union employees, Korz couldn’t be reached for comment. 

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