University of California President Janet Napolitano announced that the minimum wage for University of California employees and contract workers would increase to $15 per hour by the fall of 2017. This is the first public university to hop on to the $15 minimum wage bandwagon – and it’s California, any surprise?
The 10-campus University of California system is the state’s third-largest employer. According to Napolitano, it’s for that reason the university “should be taking the lead in ensuring its lowest-paid workers make decent wages.” The Associated Press reports,
“The University of California’s hourly earners, a group that includes students and full-time employees working in dining halls, dorms and bookstores or as gardeners, housekeepers and custodians at university campuses and hospitals, currently make the state minimum of $9 an hour.
“Napolitano says she plans to boost that to $13 an hour in October for employees who work at least 20 hours a week and by $1 an hour in each of the next two years.
“About 4,200 UC employees and a much larger, but unknown number of workers hired by university contractors will be getting the higher wages, system spokesman Dianne Klein said.”
Financing the raises will cost the university an estimated $14 million a year. Additionally, university officials predict that contractors will pass the cost of higher wages back to the university. Adding to the costs of implementation, Napolitano said the university also “plans to audit its contractors to make sure they are paying their workers the same base wage to which UC employees will be entitled and complying with workplace health and safety laws.”
Napolitano does not need the approval of the UC regents to enact her ideology-driven decision. But those regents will have the opportunity to review her contract when it comes up.
UC’s decision stands in marked difference to the University of Washington’s reaction to the $15 minimum wage. As Shift reported, UW—the single largest employer in the City of Seattle—is not increasing pay for its lowest-paid workers to the city’s $15 minimum wage. And, it is not committed to following the law’s timetable. Until the state Supreme Court hands down a decision on the issue, the UW has no plans to follow the city’s ordinance at all.
It appears UW’s leaders understand what UC’s leaders do not… economics. Of course, with a leader like the Obama Administration’s former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, not much more could be expected. Upon her appointment as UC President, critics questioned her gross lack of higher education experience and predicted she would be an “advocate for higher spending, for expanded unionization, and for more of everything that has turned the current university system into such a bureaucratic, scandal-plagued mess.”
Those predictions have proved correct.
That Napolitano is running the UC system further into the ground should come as no surprise. She failed utterly as DHS Secretary (Fast and Furious anyone?). Now, she’s just repeating the failure cycle in her latest role.
And again using taxpayer to do so.