Bills, bills, bills. Are you financially frustrated? Do you have problems paying your rent on time? Could this month translate into another late cell phone payment?

Many times we find ourselves needing that paycheck to get those bills paid on time. Although those bills will keep coming at us, on-campus student workers and casual employees have just achieved a victory in getting earlier access to their paychecks.

For many years, students have complained about getting paid on the fifth working day of the month. Sometimes, getting paid on the fifth working day actually means getting paid on the seventh or eighth day of the month. But now it’s finally official: Beginning in January 2001, students and casual employees will be paid on the first of the month!

When I worked on this issue, many doubted that this campus-wide change, which includes all departments, would happen. But, with the UCSB departments willing to change, the act of reforming the system became a minor issue in light of the greater service that they will provide to student workers and casual employees.

Just think, the movement to get the payment date changed began with the passage of a “position paper” by last year’s Associated Students Legislative Council. The work of student leaders has helped to earn a concrete victory in our lives as workers. With these changes, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of student manager Jason Souza and accounting office director Donna Carpenter as active participants in the process.

This victory is not, however, the only means to facilitate the payment process. As an on-campus worker, it is highly probable you get paid when someone cuts you a paper check. You should consider going on direct deposit. With this payment method, instead of going to the bank or ATM to deposit your check, the university will automatically do it for you. And, if you are already an employee on direct deposit, you should see the deposit on Jan. 1.

The reason I bring this up is because the Office of Accounting and Financial Services will be processing over 10,000 checks – and that’s a lot of checks! So, if you are willing, ask your employer if you can switch to direct deposit because it will make this landmark change easier for the campus and for you.

The changing of payment dates was just the first step in making a difference for on-campus employees. I will be working closely with the Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District director-elect Selena Gonzalez to urge the university to increase employee salaries. During Winter Quarter, in collaboration with the Coalition of University Employees and the University Leadership Network, we will be hosting a campus living wage conference to discuss how the university can better pay students, clerical workers, janitors, landscapers and you.

If you are interested in joining these efforts, or have any questions, feel free to contact me at or (805) 893-5085.

Balancing your life as a student and a worker should not be compromised with late bill payments and unfair wages. Make your voices and concerns known to the administrators and student leaders because they are here to serve and represent you.

Mel Fabi is the I.V. Community Relations Committee chair and a senior film studies and Chicano studies major.