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A Fuji Cleanroom Tech or a Dartmouth Cook Helper; Who Gets Paid More?

Fujifilm_dimatix.jpgLet’s poke our heads outside the Dartmouth bubble for a change, shall we, and look at the local job market. One of the Upper Valley’s most generous employers is the local division of multinational FujiFilm Dimatix, located at 101 Etna Road in Lebanon — a 10-minute drive from the Green. This producer of cutting edge heads for high-volume printers is currently looking for cleanroom technicians to work the second shift. Here are the requirements for the job:

EDUCATION: High School Degree or Equivalent

JOB DESCRIPTION: The Production Technician I performs a variety of repetitive operations to assemble precision, electromechanical products or mechanical subassemblies where methods and sequence of assembly are clearly written and described. In addition, this position completes routine tasks in preparation for assembly such as cutting wire to specified size, stripping, tinning or bending wire parts, wiring and fastening terminal connections.

SKILL: Acquires job skills and learns company policies and procedures to complete routine tasks.

JOB COMPLEXITY: Works on assignments that are routine in nature, requiring limited judgment. Has little or no role in decision-making.

SUPERVISION: Normally receives detailed instructions on all work. Works under close supervision.

EXPERIENCE: Typically requires a minimum of 0 - 1 year of related experience.

ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS: Assemble and/or install various components where operation and sequence are specified by practices or documentation. Use small hand tools such as soldering irons, wire strippers, crimpers, wrenches, screwdrivers and pliers as well as various common hand tools and power assisted assembly tools. Operate automatic and semiautomatic assembly equipment, as well as basic test equipment. Examine products to verify conformance to quality standards. Identify and select components to be integrated into subassembly and assembly units. Must follow documentation procedures and understand how to find documents relative to work tasks. Must follow all safety procedures; knows emergency protocols, exits, and rally points. Understands and knows how to use timesheets and charge time to the correct account. Individuals may be required to work in any of the disciplines identified in the job description supplement.

JOB REQUIREMENTS QUALIFICATIONS: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential job function satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

REQUIRED: High school degree or equivalent and 0-1 year of related experience.
Basic computer skills including the use of standard office software, including Word, Excel and Outlook., etc.

Salary: $12.35/hour
Pension Contribution: 0%
Vacations and Medical: Generous

In short, a semi-skilled production job. Not the top of the ladder in manufacturing, but I think that we can agree that this worker needs to have a higher skill level than a cook helper at Dartmouth.

Now take a look at what the College pays a cook helper under the new union contract. Note: the position does not require a high school degree.

Salary: $16.78/hour (includes 2012 and 2013 raises of 3% each year)
Pension Contribution: 10% — $1.68/hour (if over 35 years of age)
Vacations and Medical: More Than Generous

When you add in the federal and state government payroll taxes of 11.25% on both of these hourly wages, the compensation difference between the FujiFilm cleanroom tech and the Dartmouth cook helper is $6.80/hour — a 45.4% premium. On a 40-hour workweek, that College pays out $14,144 more per year for each of its cook helpers. And Fuji is at the very high end of the local wage scale among private employers.

If you assume that this differential is applicable to all of the College’s 520 unionized workers (though it is probably higher for better paid workers), the wage premium that Dartmouth pays out each year just to its unionized workers is approximately $7.4 million more than what Fujifilm would pay for labor. This figure does not include the cost of a plusher health insurance package (for example, Dartmouth provides eight free counseling sessions to all employees each year, etc.) and longer vacations.

Now extrapolate that out to all of the College’s 3,200 non-faculty employees.

We’ve commented before on the difference in compensation between Dartmouth and local employers. High tech star Hypertherm — regularly in the top three of the Best Companies to Work For in NH sweepstakes — also pays its production workers salaries in the area of $12-13/hour. That’s the going local rate. Why should the College pay more?

Addendum: The above wages are both well in excess of the compensation mandated by the Living Wage Calculator — an idea much beloved by certain luminaries at the College.

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