A growing number of universities in United States are offering higher wages to the workers. Accordingly, the University System of Maryland will also increase its minimum wage to $15 for most of its employees.

The University System Board of Regents voted to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour for union-represented hourly employees. The change will set in place from Jan 1, 2022. This will be applicable on full time permanent workers across the states’s public higher education system. It includes Maryland’s flagship university in College Park and three historically Black universities. However, the University of Baltimore have already increased hourly wages to $15 in July.

“It’s the right thing to do for the university system because we rely every day on hard-working, highly skilled employees. In this climate, if we don’t pay them a competitive wage, we do risk losing them to other organizations.” The chancellor of the university system Jay Perman said in a statement.

Months Long Struggle by AFSCME

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) was campaigning for this raise for many months. AFSCME represents 30,000 Maryland state university and private-sector workers. Maryland State increased the minimum hourly wage for state employees in July this year. The university system was the last major state employer offering wages below $15. The latest announcement will benefit more than 500 union workers. Housekeepers, groundskeepers, office staffers and more will see their wages grow. Currently, the minimum hourly wage within the group of public institutions is $12.79, or $26,663 per year.

Pattern Across University Systems

Several other universities have also increased wages this year. Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University moved this year to pay hourly workers at least $15 an hour. They both are operating outside the state university system. Beyond the Washington region, other schools such as the University of Michigan, University of Kentucky, University of Colorado at Boulder and Case Western Reserve University have also unveiled similar plans.

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