Legislation introduced by the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) will raise future student council member wages to $12 per hour if passed.
Currently, ASM bylaws mandate minimum hourly wages of $10.50 for student-held positions. Governance body members address wage increases as a necessary step to improve working conditions and housing affordability.
Altered bylaws suggest that student governance positions be paid a minimum of $12 per hour, according to amended wage policy bylaw edits. If approved, the edits will take effect during the 29th session of ASM, which begins on April 24.
“The intent behind this legislation is to not just raise our own wages to match rising costs of living on campus but to encourage other on-campus employers to raise their own wages,” said ASM Press Office Director Tyler Katzenberger. “This is why we founded the Student Workers’ Rights Committee — we are committed to advocating for better working conditions for each student on campus. We will continue to hold the university accountable to its employees through shared governance.”
Katzenberger and Legislative Affairs Chair MGR Govindarajan sponsored the legislation, according to a press release. Govindarajan cites the potential wage increase to $12 per hour as a “first step” and acknowledges that ASM is working with wages they “directly control.”
“[We] are in talks with Admin and Department Directors to increase wages for their student workers and expect them to go up too,” said Govindarajan. “ASM believes that ALL students across campus should have a minimum wage of $15/hr.”
Bylaw changes require two votes, one of which was passed at the January meeting, according to the press release. The Student Council will vote again at an ASM meeting on Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. CST.
“A bylaw change requires two votes of Student Council,” said ASM Chair Adrian Lampron, who explained which additional steps must be taken before changing the bylaw. “After the second vote, we'll simply edit the relevant documents.”
The first vote received “14 ayes, three nays and one abstention,” according to Katzenberger.
“The Student Council meeting had low attendance due to the fact it was the first week of classes, however I expect the next one to have more people attending. With that, I also believe the second vote will be more in favor of the wage increase,” said Govindarajan.
Recent Student Services Financial Committee (SSFC) legislation will make the proposed wage increase applicable to General Student Services Fund (GSSF) organizations as well, added Lampron.
In comparison: University wage raises
The wage increase was formerly proposed “when approving ASM’s Fiscal Year 2023 Internal Budget, but the ASM Student Services Finance Committee reversed this decision due to conflicts with the aforementioned bylaw.”
Lampron said the current wage amendment process began this fall in Coordinating Council.
“Over several conversations and meetings of the Wage Policy Subcommittee, we selected $12 an hour because it is approaching the $13.50 wage of SAC (Student Activity Center) staff and is within the increase amount stipulated in our bylaws,” Lampron said.
Govindarajan listed the following three reasons as deciding factors for a new minimum wage of $12 per hour:
- Student segregated fees would not be raised.
- ASM leadership may maintain “continuity,” meaning that continued leadership can benefit incoming Student Council leaders.
- “Some ASM leaders felt hesitant about being paid higher than others, as we work best as a team.”
Payment increases greater than 15% are prevented by bylaws, according to Govindarajan. Nevertheless, Govindarajan reiterated his belief that $15 an hour should be the minimum wage across campus.
The new wage of $12 per hour would better compare to hourly wages of other positions nearby.
“The $12 wage proposed in last week’s legislation compares similarly to other campus positions in UW Housing & Dining, Wisconsin Union and RecWell, most of which already pay employees somewhere between $11 and $12 or are currently weighing plans to do so,” said Katzenberger. “Additionally, the $12/hr wage brings us closer to the campus minimum wage for non-student workers and wages for off-campus employers such as Kwik Trip, both of which are at or around $15/hr.”
[Disclaimer: Katzenberger contributes to the Daily Cardinal as a staff writer.]