City College students a step closer to earning SF minimum wage

Shanell Williams

Student workers at City College may soon be paid San Francisco’s minimum wage of $10.55 an hour, thanks to a motion made by Student Trustee Shanell Williams at last night’s college board meeting.

It was Williams’ first night on the job, and she drew cheers from students and faculty when she voiced support for students' fair pay. 

“The (federal) loans for students are set to double in days,” Trustee Chris Jackson told the board and more than 75 meeting attendees gathered at the college’s Ocean Campus. “It’s hard working nine dollars an hour and maintaining residency in San Francisco.”

Francisco employs student workers for a myriad of positions, from clerical workers to advertising agents on the school newspaper. Students are required to be enrolled in at least six credit units in order to enter the college’s work-study program, and must also file an application for federal aid. Notably, San Francisco’s minimum wage is the highest in the country – but according to a recent article in the San Francisco Public Press, it is not widely enforced.

As a state agency housed in state facilities, City College is exempt from the city’s minimum wage ordinance, according to the city’s Office of Standards and Labor Enforcement. The institution is only required to pay its employees the state minimum wage of $8 an hour, though it pays them $9 an hour. 

Williams’ motion came as the college’s Chief Financial Officer, Peter Goldstein, outlined the potential budget future of the school.

“This has been a nightmare of a fiscal year. We're holding onto any balance that we could to end it on a positive side,” he said. 

Goldstein couldn’t provide an exact number on how much a minimum wage increase for student workers would cost the school, but told the Bay Guardian it could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars out of City College’s nearly $200 million budget. At the meeting, Williams was asked where she would draw the money for the wage increase. 

“I would like to amend that our CFO Peter Goldstein analyze the budget, look at consulting, and move that funding to raise student wages,” she said. 

When she met resistance for suggesting that funding be diverted from consulting, and the motion was nearly killed.

Trustee Rafael Mandelman voiced opposition to pulling funding from college consultants, which include public relations and technology professionals. 

“I am relatively supportive of the idea of paying our student workers the city minimum wage,” he said. “But I am not going to vote for that amendment tonight because I want to know how much that will cost. I’m nervous about making a bunch of changes on the spot.”

Student Lalo Gonzalez then addressed the board in public comment, taking aim directly at Mandelman. “Back in November, I passed out signs saying, ‘vote for Mandelman, he'll save City College,’ but you just said you wouldn't vote on raising student minimum wages,” she said. “Who are you trying to save?”

Ultimately, Goldstein was directed to determine the total cost of raising the student minimum wage, and to identify potential places where funding could be diverted from the budget to fund the wage increase. The board will take up the matter again at its next meeting in July. 

The college’s newspaper, The Guardsman, reported on the school’s lack of adherence to the San Francisco minimum wage in 2012. In an article by student reporter Lance Kramer, 21-year-old student Kirk Ireland said he depended on his job as a docent for City College’s Diego Rivera Theater, which houses Diego’s historic painting “Pan-American Unity.” Ireland told Kramer: “I don’t have to go home and I don’t have to commute to a job later at night, so it actually helps a lot. It’s part of my success that I attribute to working on campus.”


in a year's time, if the State does not renew their accreditation.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 28, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

Shanell Williams is a mover and a shaker, the student body is very fortunate in having her looking after their interests..

Posted by David Sloane on Jun. 28, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

institution is somehow a noble cause?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 28, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

the hallmark of your whacked-out, discredited, neo-liberal ideology.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 28, 2013 @ 6:41 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 29, 2013 @ 5:43 am

A proposal coming from a student of a failing community college for almost a decade, Shannell Williams still don't get it. She should figure out why it is impossible to raise student wages at this time. Faculty, administrators and staff's salary has been cut drastically. She should first see if it's mathematically possible before saying things like the increase. But then again, being a student in the college for years without a degree won't surprise me if she can't do Math properly. IMHO.

Easier said than done Shannell. Easier said than done.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2013 @ 9:17 am

Already messed up her first night and so did the SFBG. Goldstein isn't the CFO. Good job Shanell and good job SFBG. People, namely faculty and SaveCCSF cronies, are realizing Mandelman isn't their puppet like Shanell is and are starting to turn on him as described in the article.

Posted by Jonny on Jun. 28, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

and the rearranging of the Titanic's deck chairs continues... This is precisely the type of nonsense that got CCSF into the predicament that it is in, and precisely the reason that it will not get out of said predicament. CCSF is not required by law to pay student workers the city minimum wage... they are actually paying students more than they need to be. Rather than telling the students to be happy with what they have, they are actually entertaining this idea....spineless and pathetic.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 28, 2013 @ 7:31 pm

Somehow, you seem surprised. We all were idealistic college students raging against the machine. Fair pay, distribution of wealth, blah blah blah.

Great words, until the reality that SOMEONE has to pay for it hits you.

Sadly, those in academia never figured out that last sentence...and nowhere is it worse than at CCSF.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 29, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

educational institution like Yale or Oxford.

But when it's CCSF?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

Goldstein for a long time has held the title of vie chancellor of administration and finance, but the boar refers to him and has referred to him as the CFO

Posted by Joe Fitzgerald on Jun. 29, 2013 @ 10:46 am

John Billmont is the CFO. Learn to do your job as a journalist and pay attention.

Posted by Jonny on Jun. 30, 2013 @ 9:11 pm

no reason to be snippy. I'll gladly admit a mistake, as they happen. And append articles, like I did two comments above. If you listen to the recording they refer to Peter as the CFO, though of course I should refer to him by his precise title.

Fair enough.

Posted by Joe Fitzgerald on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

Student Lalo Gonzalez then addressed the board in public comment, taking aim directly at Mandelman. “Back in November, I passed out signs saying, ‘vote for Mandelman, he'll save City College,’ but you just said you wouldn't vote on raising student minimum wages,” she said. “Who are you trying to save?”

It is not WHO Mandelman is saving, but WHAT.

Lalo, take an economics class -- maybe you will actually LEARN something.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 29, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

CCSF is a steaming pile of fiscal and management shite and idiot princess Shanell wants additional funding to magically fly out of someone's ass and into their pockets?

If this is what you were taught at CCSF, Shanell, then it's proof positive on how fucked up that education system is.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 29, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

entitlement pimps and princesses.

Posted by anon on Jun. 29, 2013 @ 2:51 pm

Flying from taxpayers who voted to save CCSF. Someone IS paying for it and we want to make sure that those funds do something useful for the community. It is a twisted ideology that wants "fiscal stability" over what is best for student workers, staff, and teachers. This is a battle over priorities. The board and the accreditation commission seem hell bent on making CCSF a worse school in the educational sense. Let us be clear that CCSF is one of the best community colleges in the nation and as these cuts have affected the least well off of the students, will make class sizes larger, and overall have an adverse affect on both enrollment and student success. Oh and by the way in case you hadn't heard ALL CCSF CAMPUSES ARE PROFITABLE. Don't be confused by what you think you know come down to a board meeting and educate yourself on the situation. or come meet the Save CCSF coalition; Save CCSF meetings are open to the public. Come hear about the shadiness of the practices behind the interim administration and the accrediting commission's decision making. We have to fight back against what they think is best for the school because it is not what's best for the people of the community.

Posted by Nate on Jul. 02, 2013 @ 10:10 am

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Posted by Demaemiainghekw on Jun. 30, 2013 @ 12:22 am

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Posted by Demaemiainghekw on Jun. 30, 2013 @ 12:22 am

Wow, i'm taken aback by the trolling and overall negative, anti-public sector and anti-public education tone of most of the comments posted here. Pathetic. I remember vividly when the Bay guardian gave dire warnings of the social costs of SF's gentifrication back in the 90s. Sadly for the city, it has come to pass. SF has become an exclusive enclave of the privileged and those who like to imagine they're like them and want to think like them. For some of these people, It's ok to be entitled as long as you're not working -class or person of color like Shanell. How dare she dream with affordable, accessible education and with a living wage for all?

Who are the entitled princess and princesses, i wonder? Are they aboard the google buses or do they attend CCSF? Take a wild guess.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 9:44 pm

City college is failing because of ideologues like you. Feeling entitled of the money from the tax payers. Squeeze out more blood from tax payers bunch of hippies. Employees at downtown who ride those shuttle buses actually finished school and are responsible for paying taxes so hippies like you can take hundreds of units in a community college like CCSF for free.

You guys don't get it. Your ailing, dirty, dilapidated school run by hippies from Summer of Love era is failing and falling but you continue to argue about money.

Feeling entitled right?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2013 @ 9:31 am

Ha! Hippies? Hippies are dead.
BTW, consider taking a grammar and punctuation class at City; you clearly need it.

Posted by Guest My Ass on Jul. 11, 2013 @ 9:17 pm

Has anyone congratulated Ms. Williams yet on her impeccable sense of timing?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 06, 2013 @ 9:18 am

How is he still there?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 14, 2013 @ 3:13 pm

How is he still there?

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