In the entrances of all of the University dining halls, signs read: “$11 per hour. Dining Hall jobs. They’re money.”
Starting this semester, the wages for dining hall staff increased from $9 to $11 in order to combat the decrease in student applicants and allow the workers to have more flexible schedules, according to Michigan Dining Director Steve Mangan.
The 22 percent wage increase comes after a significant decline in student dining hall employees and applicants, according to University Dining.
Mangan said possible factors contributing to this decline and consistent dining hall understaffing included “changing demographics, higher incomes for many of our students and more jobs available in town and campus.”
According to the Office of Budget and Planning the number of first-year, in-state students with parents’ incomes above $150,000 has decreased from 54 percent to 49 percent, however for out-of-state freshman the number increased from 68 percent to 76 percent. In an interview with the Daily in 2014, E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life, said the University’s difficulty finding students to fill campus jobs could be associated with higher-than-average family incomes.
Students have already responded to the wage increase — last week alone, University Dining had already hired close to 200 new students, according to University Dining.
School of Education junior Andrew Campbell, a Markley dining employee, said understaffing has been a problem in his experience working at the dining hall prior to the announcement of the wage increase.
Campbell said especially in a such a populated building like Markley, when the dining hall got busy and they were short staffed, they had to close sections of food and “not serve certain dishes, or make just pizza because we just didn’t have enough people.”
LSA freshman Julia Bublitz, also a Markley dining employee, said she had experiencd similar issues working in an understaffed dining hall.
Campbell said fellow employees were very happy with the University’s decision to increase wages.
“People are thrilled,” he said. “It’s really nice to go to from $9 to $11. I think we are all really grateful and really appreciate it.”