- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Duquesne University is increasing its employee minimum wage to $16 an hour, slightly more than twice the state and federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (https://bit.ly/1HLD9gW ) university officials also agreed to a 0.5 percent raise for all employees earning less than $34,000 a year. Under the new budget, the school will contribute $500 to employee dependent care flex funds.

University Spokeswoman Rose Ravasio said the new wage floor, effective July 1, affects 168 Duquesne employees who earn between $15 and $15.99 an hour.

Officials said the increase means total compensation for the lowest paid full-time employees is equivalent to $22 per hour when adding the value of benefits.

University President Charles Dougherty said the wage increase benefits full-time employees by helping them with added expenses.

The announcements were made Tuesday as more members of the private sector boost their minimum wages.

Wal-Mart recently announced it will increase its minimum wage to $9 an hour, and McDonald’s has agreed to raise wages in its company-owned restaurants by $1 per hour.

Charles McCollester, retired director of the Labor Center at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, said weakening opposition to minimum-wage increases in the private sector could pave the way for action by Congress, which has refused to heed the Obama administration’s call for a $10.10-an-hour minimum wage.

McCollester said it’s ironic that Duquesne is raising its minimum wage as the university battles its part-time faculty’s vote to form a collective bargaining unit.

The Pittsburgh office of the National Labor Relations Board heard arguments in the dispute last month and is expected to rule soon.


Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, https://pghtrib.com

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