Student groups organize wage strike on campus

Freshman Eric Allison holds a sign that reads "We are worth the minimum" at the protest. Student worker wage is currently $9.40 for the spring 2021 semester, which is 90 cents below the state minimum wage. Photo by Rachel Becker

Truman State University College Democrats and the Progressive Student Alliance held a demonstration outside the Student Union Building to request student worker wage be increased to Missouri’s minimum wage.

Student worker wage is currently $9.40 for the spring 2021 semester. The fall 2020 semester wage was $9.00. Both of these are below Missouri’s minimum wage of $10.30 for 2021.

Several students from the Progressive Student Alliance and the Truman State University College Democrats gave speeches.

They chose to hold the event the same day as the Student Research Conference because students do not have class and were able to attend the event, President of College Democrats Kiren MacLeod said. 

Reece Ellis, former president of College Democrats, said in his speech that students are being impacted by the University’s dwindling budget.

“What about my budget crisis? What about your budget crisis?” Ellis asked.

Senior Reece Ellis, the former president of Truman State University College Democrats, spoke at the strike. Several students from the Progressive Student Alliance and the College Democrats gave speeches. Photo by Rachel Becker

Ellis said it is important for everyone to know if all workers are being paid fairly. Students are also asking that the minimum wage be further increased to a living wage.

More events will likely be held if administration does not increase the wage, Ellis said.

MacLeod said they have not directly talked to the administration yet. Their current efforts focus on making administration aware that many students on campus feel angry over the lower wages.

The current minimum wage for student workers is determined by the University budget. Dave Rector, vice president for administration, finance and planning, said earlier this year the University wage will likely not reach Missouri minimum wage due to budget constraints.

View a gallery of photos from the wage strike below:

MacLeod said he thinks this is an important issue to spread information about because many are unaware this issue exists.

“I don’t think a lot of student workers here realize that they are being paid sub-minimum wages, and we think that is unfair at every single level,” MacLeod said. “Student workers need to know, the student body at large needs to know and the administration needs to know that we aren’t going to have it.”

The Index reached out to Dave Rector for comment but could not be reached as of 6 p.m. today.