Fiscal fights, waging war

The Tower Staff

With the recent rise in job shortages, there are an abundance of opportunities for students to add “part-time worker” to their resume.

For the longest time, high school workers have served as a convenient, inexpensive source of labor for businesses with a minimal budget. Students have relatively few options about where to seek work due to their young age, limited experience and lack of a degree. Retail and hosting positions allow teenagers to be paid just minimum wage for the hours of work they’re carefully completing.

For minors ages 16-17 in the state of Michigan, the hourly minimum wage falls from the standard $9.65 to $8.20. This means that the difference of just a year can decrease our hard-earned check by 15%. However, if those hours were spent performing the same tasks, why would age matter?

We at The Tower believe it’s simply unrealistic to expect full-time high school students to work as many hours as an unrestricted adult, especially while keeping up a dedicated GPA, partaking in extracurricular activities and maintaining strong emotional and mental health. High schoolers need time to be high schoolers. Considering the increased demand for part-time workers, those hours that we can work are more crucial than ever. As long as we remain dedicated and responsible in the workplace, there is no reason for us to be treated and paid as anything less than we are: employees.

At its very root, employment is a two-way relationship that benefits both parties. The employees need a salary to pay for their expenses, and the employer needs manpower to perform necessary jobs that keep the business running. Students are dedicating the same amount of time to tasks of the same intensity as their older counterparts. They shouldn’t be shorted out of fair earnings simply because they lack the experience and seniority necessary to seek a more generous employer. If we are fulfilling our end of the bargain, it’s high time for employers to reciprocate.

While standing up for yourself sounds agreeable in theory, we at The Tower understand that putting such dreams into practice can prove to be a daunting task. Until you’ve decided to take action, try to organize your thoughts so that they will best defend your grievances. Employers can be intimidating authority figures, but it’s important to keep in mind that you are bringing energy and expertise to the table. We hope that you can see your own value and advocate for the pay that you deserve.