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Can Student Activists Push Administrators to Raise Pay for PT Faculty?

by Brian Min

In April 2015, hundreds of students and professors from Columbia supported CU Fight for 15 by demonstrating in front of Low Steps to promote a $15 minimum wage for low-income workers and raising the wages of adjunct professors. CU Fight for 15 continues to be an active organization on campus and recently rallied to show approval of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to raise the minimum wage of fast-food workers to $15.

Although the plan to incrementally achieve a $15 minimum wage by 2018 in NYC appears to be beneficial to fast-food workers, we need to re-examine the impacts that wage increases have on these workers. In actuality, a $15 minimum wage will prove to be detrimental to fast-food workers. However, raising wages for adjunct faculty, the other goal of CU Fight for 15, will improve both Columbia and its adjunct professors.

Increasing labor costs with a higher minimum wage will decrease the fast-food industry’s demand for workers. As the American Enterprise Institute explains, following Seattle’s minimum wage hike to $11 in April 2015 (to gradually achieve $15 by 2017), more than 1,000 restaurant jobs were lost in a month. The American Enterprise Institute might

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