CUH students happy with new minimum wage


Kristine Lindborg

Robbie Silan works for minimum wage at the Carlson Fitness Center.

By Kristine Lindborg, Staff Writer

In 2014, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a minimum wage bill into law to raise Hawaii’s minimum wage over time. Over the last two years the minimum wage has increased by $1.25 and will increase again by 75 cents on Jan. 1, 2017. One year later, it will jump to $10.10 an hour.

“When we first came here we were only being paid $7.75,” said Robbie Silan, a 20-year-old nursing major about his wages at Chaminade’s Carlson Fitness Center. “More money is always better.”

In 2013, Obama called for a nationwide minimum wage increase from the wage of $7.25 to $10.10 but did not get enough support to pass the wage act. Several states have taken Obama’s challenge into action anyway and have raised their wages. Hawaii was one of the first to take action.

Thousands of workers in Hawaii will be affected by the increase, including several Chaminade students working for minimum wage. Liane Koja, a 21-year-old senior working at the Carlson Fitness Center, found out about the increase before the school year started.

“It is good. More money for the same thing that we have been doing,” said Koja. “I just got an apartment with my roomie, but any money that I make here is just for my spending money. My parents pay for my rent and school so this is just so I don’t have to ask for anything else.”

Students working for minimum wage two years ago earned $228 less a month than students working for minimum wage will in 2018.

Another Chaminade student, Kerryleigh Foster who is a 20-year-old criminal justice major, did not know about the future increase happening on January 2017.

“I did not know that,” said Foster, who works at the Sullivan Family Library front desk. “I think it’s a good increase. I was kind of antsy about the starting pay but it’s not a too drastic a job to do so I thought it was alright, but I’m glad it’s being increased.”

When it comes to the cost of living, Hawaii is one of the most expensive states in the country. For a 480 square-foot furnished studio in a normal area, the monthly rent would be approximately $1,315, according to Is the final minimum wage increase of $10.10 going to be enough?

“I don’t know. I mean it seems fine for me. But I have worked for minimum wage in New Jersey before and it was $7.25 at the time so this is nice I guess,” said Silan, who is happy about the future increase.

Foster still thinks the minimum wage increase is too low and that the future minimum wage should be increased even more.

“I wouldn’t say enough, but it’s a doable amount,” said Foster. “I just have so much expenses before i get paid so I have to kind of keep a certain amount inside my account until I get paid, because there is all the bills and tuition to pay before I even get my next paycheck. It should be higher. It could be asking too much but i’d say about $13 should be at least the minimum wage because of course the living cost here in Hawaii is just too much.”