As Wake Forest students, we often go about our weekdays in a mildly self-absorbed bubble.
We hop from one class to the next, maybe even without looking up from our phones in between. In this bubble, we often fail to notice everybody who helps our world turn and keep our campus consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful in the country. The university and the student body would not be upholding the values of Pro Humanitate if they weren’t advocating for all members of the staff, those who keep the university running smoothly, to be paid livable wages and designated equal opportunity.
Recently, the Old Gold & Black has covered the increase in outsourcing janitorial — specifically the day porters — positions to the Budd Group, a third-party group that will allow the university to “lower operational costs and ultimately minimize staff turnover, while capitalizing on the efficient service levels the Budd Group has provided,” according to John Shenette, the associate vice president of facilities and campus services.
While outsourcing jobs to third-party groups does transfer responsibility of payment of livable wages away from the university, we believe that any direct or contract employee of Wake Forest should still be earning a liveable wage.
Although the Faculty Senate has been pushing for a wage of $11 an hour and has accepted the $10.48 an hour wage the administration has guaranteed for all direct employees. While the details of what will happen with contract employees and the current day porters of the university are still uncertain, we believe that it is crucial that any employee, whether directly employed by Wake Forest or contracted by a third party organization like the Budd Group, Graylyn or Aramark, earns a living wage.
Minimum wage of $7.50 an hour is not enough for one to sustain theirself. Employees should not have to work on a campus with the amount of wealth and fortune that Wake Forest has and live below the poverty line.
We commend the Faculty Senate in their efforts in advocating for fair wages for all employees and are happy to see dialogue between the senate and the administration. In the recent weeks, there has been dialogue between the two groups. While it is a tricky and complicated situation, the fact that the issue is being addressed in some form shows progress, even though we are still at the start of the journey.
The Old Gold & Black appreciates the efforts that the Faculty Senate are making as we have grown to get to know the staff who clean our office and Benson as a whole.
We hope that all day porters of the university will be able to remain employed either by the university or the Budd Group after the Budd Group takes over the day porter positions starting July.
In the coming weeks, we encourage the Faculty Senate and the administration to continue discussing the issues at hand and listen to one another.
While it is important to do what is best for the school financially, it is also important to protect all employees and guarantee a living wage.
The only way we can make progress is if we work in conjunction with each other.