Student employees in the Union during hall last week brought up the perennial question of equality of wages between students and "civilians" hired by the University. The undergraduate help have a good case in requesting that their salaries be placed on the same basis of the waitresses: 65 cents an hour plus free meals when on duty. At the same time, the University is quite correct in saying that students do receive the equivalent now. But in making their equation, the University figures the meals to "civilians" at food cost, or approximately 40 cents a meal, while undergraduate employees are charged an average of 70 cents for theirs.
Waiters in the Union have suggested a reconsideration of the decision last year to raise their wages from 65 to 75 cents an hour. Their stated preference is 65 cents an hour and meals free while working. Such an arrangement would place undergraduate payments considerably above those of "civilian" help. A compromise can be effected, however, which, although entailing more book-keeping, would install a more equal relationship. Undergraduate employees, like civilians, receive 40 cents credit for each meal eaten on duty. The saving would add up to about $2 per week, when reduced wages are deducted. Although the amount will vary considerably on the number of hours a man works, it would represent a gain in every case.
Assuming that the waiters are honestly and primarily interested in equalizing their wages with those of "civilians," the University should take labor's opinion under consideration. The increased cost would be slight, the possibilities of improving the conditions considerable.
If, on the other hand, those student waiters who are primarily interested in getting on the more desirable coupon system for meal payment rather than increasing their wages are behind the recent move, they will have to buck the opposition of Administration policy. There is little reason, moreover, why a student employed in the dining halls should be given the privilege of coupon payment when that privilege is denied other undergraduates.