In the spring of 2002, after a vote by faculty in support of a living
wage, Swarthmore College President Al Bloom created a committee of students,
faculty, and staff to determine what exactly would constitute a living
wage for Swarthmore.
Charge to the Committee:
“A multi-constituent committee is charged with exploring approaches
to building further on the progress made in increasing the minimum level
of staff compensation at the College. The Committee will report to President
Bloom and to the community during the next academic year on its view of
what is best for the institution....It is prudent and right to aim at
a higher minimum compensation. This new committee will work to suggest
ways this could best be packaged and try to identify consequences of a
Summary of Recommendations:
1. The Swarthmore minimum wage should be $10.72/hour,
tied to inflation.
(Minority Recommendation: the Swarthmore minimum wage should be $13.89/hour.)
2. Swarthmore should introduce a new childcare subsidy
benefit of up to $550/month for preschool-age children and $325/month
for elementary school age children. The College would pay the actual costs
of childcare, up to these maxima.
3. Swarthmore should modify its current health insurance
benefits such that lowest paid employees receive full HMO coverage for
their families at no cost to them.
4. Both the childcare benefit and the health insurance
supplement should also be provided to employees whose wages are above
the minimum, in amounts determined by a sliding scale that provides full
benefit for people earning the College minimum, no benefit for employees
earning $8/hour above the College minimum, and linearly decreasing benefit
for employees in between.
5. Both the childcare benefit and the health insurance
supplement should be means-tested. The means testing should be done in
as simple and transparent a way as possible.
6. The problem of “wage compression” should
be addressed by providing wage increases for employees earning up to $18/hour,
on a sliding scale of “decreasing increases.”
7. A multi-constituent Employment Practices Advisory
Committee should be created to help monitor changes in the workforce in
an effort to detect and correct potential unintended negative consequences
of the change in the College’s compensation policy that are detailed
in the report.