Students Across the Country Bargaining for Higher Wages

Written by Diamond Thompson and Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier on 04/17/2023

Beginning in July 2023, the University of Arizona employees will receive a pay increase, raising their internal minimum wage to $15. Using data from the MIT Living Wage Calculator, which estimates that a single adult in Tucson, Arizona, would need to earn approximately ~$34 per hour to make a living wage, union organizers from the United Campus Workers of Arizona (UCWAZ) are working with other unions nationwide to establish a livable minimum wage. Coined the “$25 by 25" campaign, advocates seek to increase the minimum wage to $25 by 2025.

Similarly, students in the Binghamton chapter of the Graduate Student Union (GSEU) in New York State use the MIT Living Wage Calculator to launch a campaign for a livable wage. Arguing that financial insecurity can be debilitating for students academically and psychologically, the BU GSEU states that this is ultimately a fight to improve the overall living conditions of students. In a 2022 survey administered by the BU GSEU, 40% of students
reported that they couldn't afford adequate housing. Thus far, the petition has gathered over 1,400 signatures.