Vanderbilt’s substantial lift in its minimum wage goes into effect October 1, and employees on campus are realizing the 15% increase and additional paid time off will only benefit a small portion of campus workers.
Diana Johns has been working at Vanderbilt Dining for over 40 years. She was unfased by Thursday’s announcement that minimum wage for campus employees will be bumped to $12.50 an hour.
“We get nothing out of it. It don’t benefit us,” Johns says.
Vanderbilt’s new minimum wage only applies to non-unionized employees. So Campus Dining and Facility Operations employees are not affected. Most of them make more than the new minimum wage anyway.
Johns walks around the cafeteria and points out a cook that has been there five years.
"I need to know the truth," she asks.
He already makes $13 an hour. A dining server who has been working for Vanderbilt forty-four years says he makes $15 an hour.
Vanderbilt acknowledges that this new entry-level pay is largely about recruitment. The school, which is the largest private employer in Nashville, cites an increasingly competitive job market. Unemployment in Davidson County was less than three percent in May.
On campus, the increased minimum wage only affects childcare associates and mail carriers.