By Amethyst Martinez
AFTER over 900 Rider-employed student workers faced payroll difficulties this semester, the university has averted a student-strike amongst Academic Success Center tutors by prioritizing potential strike participants paychecks over other students across campus.
The planned strike, which was coordinated by senior student tutors Emma Zinser and Tiffany Corcoran, was anticipated to take place on Monday, Nov. 6, if their preceding paycheck was missed Friday, Nov. 3.
In an interview with The Rider News on Nov. 2, Zinser, a health sciences major, and Corcoran, a secondary education major, estimated that 15 to 20 student-tutors planned to participate in the strike, and the pair was actively trying to get more involved.
When Zinser, Corcoran and others who planned to participate received Friday paychecks, they called off the strike. But other tutors are still owed pay, according to the ASC’s director, Shane Conto.
“There’s hundreds of student workers here at Rider University, and trying to make sure that all of that pay situation is resolved in a timely manner, you have to be able to prioritize,” said Conto.
Students across campus, including those employed by the ASC, have faced missing and late paychecks, payroll system malfunctions, disbursements issues and more this semester. As of Oct. 31, more than 170 students reported unpaid hours, according to survey information circulated to supervisors.
Corcoran said that participating tutors would go on strike if they didn’t receive their back-pay from prior missed checks and their most recent check for Nov. 3; however, only those who threatened to strike were paid in full by the university. Others still continue to face pay difficulties in the center.
“We were told that … certain Academic Success Center students should expect to see a paycheck [on Nov. 3],” said Corcoran.
Conto said that students who were a part of the planned strike were prioritized to be paid, and that there are still instances of tutors in the center who are missing paychecks.
Conto, who estimated that 13 students were a part of the proposed walkout, said, “The main priority for myself working on Thursday was to get the student workers who were involved in this potential strike to make sure that they got paid … to help avoid them going on strike.”
Conto also confirmed the 13 students, a discrepancy from the number the Zinser and Corcoran reported, were paid in full. He estimated around 140 student-workers were employed at the center.
Although the student-tutors planning to strike were paid, about 37 ASC student-workers reported missing pay, according to information circulated to supervisors.
Many students have been trying to receive back-pay from prior pay periods at the university.
James Hartman, chief financial officer, said the goal is to pay as many students as possible back by Nov. 10.
In an email to all students on Oct. 26, Hartman apologized to those who are missing wages and provided a survey for those who were still awaiting checks.
The email stated, “[The survey] will allow us to easily track all unpaid requests, and get as many paid as possible by Friday November 10th.”
In an interview with The Rider News following the email, Hartman said that problems were “pretty much across the board” for students at the university, which currently employs close to 1,000 students.
Conto confirmed that certain students in the ASC are still trying to receive their back-pay and that “there have been some isolated situations where some of our student workers didn’t get paid.”
Conto also said that James Conlon, assistant vice president for academic success and student financial services, had multiple plans in place to make sure those who planned to go on strike were paid by Nov. 3, including giving them cash instead of a paycheck the day of.
Currently, the university is trying to get all students off of ADP, and move them to Banner Web Time Entry. In various interviews with The Rider News throughout the semester, Hartman has cited different dates of when students would move to the new platform.
However, an email went out to students on Nov. 7 stating that, beginning with the Nov. 6 pay period, the university would be rolling out Banner WTE to all student-workers.
Conto empathized with students and said that he doesn’t blame the employees for being frustrated with payroll struggles.
“We really can’t afford to be losing our student-workers, especially at this juncture in the semester,” said Conto. “The hope is…they’re compensated for the work that they do.”