CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Important legislation proposing a hike in minimum wage rates in Illinois to $15 is causing leaders at Southern Illinois University Carbondale to start considering the impact it would have on them as a major employer in the region.
“We have about 600 employees and about 2,300 student employees who currently make under $15 an hour,” said chief communications officer at the school, Rae Goldsmith. "It will have a financial impact on the institution of about $6.9 million when fully implemented.”
The proposed minimum wage hike recently passed in the Senate, and would raise over time.
The first wage increase would be Jan. 1st, 2020 to $9.25; then in July the same year, it would increase to $10; after that, the minimum wage in Illinois would increase $1 every year until it reaches $15 in 2025 according to the General Assembly website.
Goldsmith said this wage increase would mean even more cuts for the university, which has already had budgets slashed and departments reorganized multiple times over the last several years. Which could really have an impact on the student workers, like Marshall Brown, who works the front desk at University Housing.
“I think it’s the best option for a student on campus,” he said. "This job allows me to save money for the future, and any spending money also is nice to have.”
Even though Brown admits to not always having enough money as a full time student, he takes a surprising position on this proposed minimum wage hike.
“I mean I’m a student,” he said. "I don’t have any dependents, I’m not making a house payment or anything like that, so I don’t believe I should make $15 minimum wage, when a lot of employees at the University don’t even make that now.”
As of right now, Goldsmith said they have not started to think about areas of the university that would see the first cuts after a wage increase.