Salary increase in the works for AMS

Higher salaries will increase one student fee, says Board of Directors

Tuition is increasing while salaries are staying relatively low.
Tuition is increasing while salaries are staying relatively low.
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The AMS is looking to raise its AMS-specific fee of $70.74 in an effort to increase wages for full-time staff.

Rico Garcia, chair of the AMS Board of Directors, presented the proposal at Assembly last Thursday, which called for a raise in salaries to make AMS full-time jobs, including executive and commissioner positions, more accessible to students.

On Dec. 3, the proposal will be voted on at AMS Board of Directors, and finalized in March. If the proposal is passed, the AMS specific fee will increase, along with AMS full-time salaries in January 2014.

Garcia declined to specify how much student fees would be raised. He stated that the AMS will also reallocate surpluses from corporate services to accommodate the fee increase.

Currently, there are 61 salaried positions in the AMS.

“We want all students to have access to these positions … as opposed to only people who can afford to work for these jobs because they don’t compensate as much as they should be,” Garcia, ArtSci ’13, said.

The AMS pays the lowest salary to its student president compared to many other Canadian universities, Garcia said. He added most university student unions usually have four executive positions, while Queen’s has three.

The AMS president is paid $24,423 yearly while the president at Western University makes $41,000.

“We do a lot more with less people and with less money,” Garcia said.

Garcia’s report stated that in 2012, 13.8 per cent of applicants had a 100 per cent chance of getting the job as they were the only applicant for the position. In 2013, this number increased to 17.2 per cent.

He said that the low application numbers can be attributed to the cost of living and tuition increases.

In addition to raising salaries, the committee hopes to compensate full-time workers in more cost-effective ways.

“We are looking at ways to make jobs more accessible to students and also compensating in creative ways as well that aren’t just directly tied to money,” he said.

The proposal includes compensating AMS full-time employees with food credits at AMS services including Common Ground and Queen’s Pub. In addition, it was suggested that the food credits may also be applicable to use in cafeterias.

“A lot of them spend a lot of time on campus and don’t have time to go home in the middle of the day when they are working full-time to go cook,” he said.

The employees would be provided with food credits for every month they spend working a full-time AMS job. This would be in addition to their salary.

The Board of Directors sends a survey out once a year to AMS employees, providing them with an avenue to voice their concerns.

Tuba Chishti, chair of the personnel committee and a student director on the AMS Board of Directors, elaborated on some of the issues that were brought up in the surveys.

“Overall, there was a trend that a lot of people felt that they were being demanded more and more but that their [working] hours were much higher than their job description,” Chishti, ArtSci ’14, said.

Despite this, many of the AMS employees shared the value that they see in gaining this type of work experience, she said.

“We expect a lot from our staff in the AMS and we want to make sure that those people are paid adequately for the work that they do,” she said.

“The salary grid hadn’t been looked at in four years … we want to make sure that we are actually paying people well.”

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