“University of Inequality?”

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“University of Inequality?”

The rich are getting richer while working families are falling behind at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. A new report shows that the school’s clerical and technical staff have seen their wages stagnate in recent years and now struggle to make ends meet, but compensation for the university’s highest-paid administrators and staff continues to skyrocket.

Click here to download the full report, “University of Inequality?” [PDF]

Based on Freedom of Information Act requests by AFSCME, the report reveals that:

  • More than 2,800 university employees are paid wages so low that they qualify for food stamps based on income guidelines for a family of four.
  • Nearly 3,300 university employees don’t earn enough to afford the average cost of a three-bedroom family apartment in the Champaign/Urbana area.
  • 68 full-time university employees are paid less than the poverty level for a family of four ($23,550).
  • The 50 highest-paid university employees are being paid an average $397,141 this year — more than 19 times the average $20,348 paid to the 50 lowest-paid employees.
  • These 50 highest-paid university employees have enjoyed an average 25% pay increase in just the past three years. The lowest-paid employees have had just a 3.8% raise over the same period.
  • The total value of raises paid to just the top 1% of university employees since 2010 could have given the bottom 10% of lowest-paid workers a wage increase of more than $3,100 — enough to lift them out of poverty.
  • The highest-paid university employee takes home more in an hour ($817) than the lowest-paid makes in two weeks ($783). The lowest-paid university employee would have to work 96 years to earn what the highest-paid employee takes home this year alone.
  • Wage inequality at UIUC disproportionately harms women, who comprise nearly two-thirds (65%) of the bottom 10% of earners, but just 17% of the 1% highest-paid.

“Big-name administrators and academic superstars couldn’t function without the thousands of hard-working men and women who make the university happen,” AFSCME regional director Jeff Bigelow said. “President Easter and the board must acknowledge and confront this growing wage gap and provide a decent standard of living for all university employees.”

– See more at: http://www.afscme31.org/news/university-of-inequality#sthash.MYXuoAra.dpuf

About Brian Dolinar

Brian Dolinar has been a community journalist since 2004.
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