Raising the minimum wage to $15/hr and providing free childcare for every WashU employee is an urgent necessity for many reasons, not the least of which is the cost of living in St. Louis. Most grad workers receive a $23,360 annual stipend ($2,124/month before tax). This is not enough to support a single person in St. Louis, let alone a family.
Rent and Utilities
The cost of a one-bedroom apartment (rent+utilities) in St. Louis averages $1,056 per month. Compare this to the $2,124 that campus workers take home each month, and housing alone can eat more than half of our monthly check.
The minimum amount of money for food per person in St. Louis is an estimated $309.87 a month. Other necessities like hygiene products can cost $60 per month. Add this to the average cost of St. Louis housing, and the typical WashU worker has already spent well over half of their check on the bare necessities to sustain a single person.
Now what if that worker has a child? The average cost of day care in the city is around $800 per month, or $3,200/semester. WashU’s current day care subsidy allows for a maximum of just $1,750 per semester for one child. Most working parents agree that day care is the most expensive item in their monthly budget. It’s time WashU invest in people as much as they invest in parking garages.