YIGIT KACMAZ, TRUMPET NEWS AND CULTURE & DIVERSITY EDITOR
Student workers at Wartburg Dining Services and Operations & Maintenance received a pay raise on Sept. 29th as the college feels the same pains from a labor shortage as much of the business world.
Student assistants working in these two departments now earn $9.25 per hour, a $1 increase from the previous $8.25 per hour. Student managers working in these departments also received a $1 per hour wage increase from $9 per hour to $10 per hour.
The increase received mixed reactions from the students.
“I feel like they could definitely do better,” third-year German major Eva Schoell said. “I got twice the amount working in Illinois in a coffee shop.” Schoell has been working at the Konditorei since their first year.
The pay increase in the dining services was long overdue, according to third-year computer science major Feyi Omotehinwa. Omotehinwa worked in special events and catering in her first year.
“I think we deserve a wage increase especially since we are understaffed,” third-year biochemistry major Brayden Moore said. “It makes us feel more appreciated for the things we do.” Moore has been working in the Den-Rittersaal since her first year and this is her second year as a student manager.
The decision came as Dining Services have been understaffed this academic year.
“Five or six years ago, something similar happened, and to be honest part, of it is supply and demand,” Director of Dining Services Marty Johnson said. “We have a certain demand on campus for labor to help us in Dining Services and in Operations & Maintenance. What we found over several years is that we have fewer and fewer staff who have been interested in doing that work.”
According to Johnson, another possible reason for staff shortage in these departments is that some of the off campus positions driven up their wage rates.
“It is really tough,” Johnson said. “What we were trying to do with that wage rate increase was just try to bridge that gap closer.”
Fourth year business administration major Rojan Dahal is one of the students who works at a job off-campus. Dahal worked in the Mensa in his first two years at Wartburg.
“It is still the same thing,” Dahal said. “$9 is a dollar more than what they used to pay, but the place I am working at right now can pay me $15.”
Even though some students were not satisfied, Dining Services leaders are flexible with scheduling and provide friendly environment.
“It is a nice way for me just to make money on campus,” third-year computer science major Isaac Nguyen said. Nguyen has been working in the Den-Rittersaal since his first year at Wartburg. “They are very flexible with the hours I can work. I usually work two and a half hours every day.”
Students working in the Den-Rittersaal can use their board plans to get a meal before or after their shift.
Dining Services needed to make some changes in the working schedule due to the staff shortage. The Den-Rittersaal is not open on the weekend evenings unlike last year.
“Last couple of years, we have had trouble staffing those two shifts and this year overall we are just a little bit shorter staffed in the Den,” Johnson said. “We really felt like we had to focus on, to start with Monday through Friday with meal transfers to make sure that was rock solid.”
Alongside the limitation in the service hours of the dining hall, the shortage in workers puts a toll on the current workers.
“It is not fun during meal transfers when meal transfers are coming in quick to be understaffed, but we have a lot of good workers that work around that,” Moore said. “We always get caught up no matter what, we just have to know everything is going to work out.”
Other than the pay raise, Dining Services employed more staff to help more.
“So many students have class during lunch that we just don’t have available students who can work at that time,” Johnson said. Individuals from the Larrabee Center to come and help serve lunch two days a week.
The Larrabee Center assists persons with disabilities and the elderly to become or remain valued members of their community.
For more information and job inquiries in the Dining Services contact Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.