Did you know the lovely men and women who have performaed my housekeeping for the last 2 years have been paid $8/hr to clean up after some of the most disgusting people I have ever known?  Piss on the seats and floor, vomit all over the bathrooms…in some dorms even shit in the hallway.  $8/hr.  That’s not even a living wage.  We pay over $50,000 a year to go to Gettysburg College and they get $8/hr.  Wow.  They are not unionized and even my mention of the word causes them to worry about the response of the college.  “I’m not supposed to talk about that,” she says.

They clean on average 1 large building and two smaller ones, although this varies from employee to employee.  It takes, on average, about 5 hours of paid work to finish each day’s cleaning.  That is:

$40 per day
$200 per week
$1000 per month
$9,000 per year, optimistically.

Obviously it’s not full-time if it is only 25 hours per week, but it is first shift which means it rules out a lot of other work for these people.  I honestly don’t know how they do it; I would never do such a job for a mere $8/hr.  Okay, I would if I had to but I know that I can make more doing just about anything including standing around as a temporary employee in a position with no organization.  This is not a living wage, and it should be changed.  However, without the support of the constituents, in this case the students and their parents, such a change will not happen.  And how many people will fight for this knowing it will increase the cost of attendance?

My real question is this: how is it we are paying over $50,000 a year, a price, I might add, which is greater than many Ivy League schools, yet our housekeeping staff is not even making a living wage!  Mhm, this is a little unsettling for sure.