WSU employees ask administration for higher wages

Staff who keep WSU running say they aren’t being paid a fair wage for what they do

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen news editor

The WSU Classified Staff will be delivering postcards to President Kirk Schulz’s office asking for raises at 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Classified Staff includes employees such as carpenters, roofers, electricians and painters, as well Dining Services.

“I have a gentlemen that’s been working 20 years that’s had an $8 raise,” said Michelle Edenso, a retail clerk lead at Flix and Towers markets.“We’re about 20 percent below the index.”

The action comes shortly before the the group’s union, Local 1066, returns to bargain with WSU administration in what will likely be the final stage of bargaining, according to a press release.

“The reason why we’re doing this is the original offer was kind of a slap in the face,” Edenso said. “We’re the ones that make WSU run.”

Edenso also pointed to the university continuing to pay the wage for high-profile employees like WSU football Head Coach Mike Leach, who is one of the highest paid state employees.

“Our jobs aren’t paying for the work that we do. We need a livable wage,” she said. “We can’t afford to live in Pullman.”

Edneso’s husband Victor Edenso works in Facilities Services as a painter, she said. He graduated from WSU with two degrees and is still paying off student loans.

“99 percent of us love our jobs. I love my job,” Edenso said. “But the employees feel they their wages don’t reflect the work they do.”

Edneso works regularly with international students, she said, and helps them get their bearings on campus. She said the group isn’t looking for conflict but wants people to see the human side of the cause.

“They can surely spend the money on the guys that keep the university world-class,” Edenso said. “It would be nice to be able to pay off more of those student loans.”