As cities increase minimum wage, student workers get shortchanged


This year, the war for a higher minimum wage has come in the form of a series of local battles. As the federal rate of $7.25 turned five years old, states and cities took it upon themselves to boost the stagnant pay of low-wage workers.

The most notable victories came on Election Day, when four Republican-leaning states approved hikes through ballot initiatives. The year also saw big cites like Seattle, Chicago, and Oakland bring their minimum pay rates into the double digits.

The raises came as welcome news for low-wage workers, but the piecemeal fashion in which the measures were passed has created a confusing patchwork of laws that has left at least one sliver of the workforce in the lurch: student workers at state-funded universities.

The problem is an isolated one; it occurs at public universities located in cities with a minimum wage that’s higher than the state rate…

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