The Carolina Union is the third largest employer of students on campus behind Carolina Housing and Campus Recreation. Employing approximately 140 students, Union employees have unique — sometimes difficult — experiences based on the positions that they hold.
One of the most common grievances that Carolina Union student employees have is the pay. Employees say it is not enough for the work required of them. The average student pay range is between $9.50 to $11 an hour based on their position.
As an employee, students are required to work at least 10 hours a week throughout the semester, including finals week. Students also open and close the Union — sometimes as late as 3 a.m.
In an email statement to the Daily Tar Heel, Alexandra Marchesano, the executive director of the Carolina Union, said academics come first and the Carolina Union works with its student employees to come up with a schedule at the beginning of the semester that works around academic and personal schedules. Because of this, students may work after traditional working hours.
BJ Miles, a UNC senior, worked for the Carolina Union in guest services between November 2021 and December 2022 before quitting after experiencing multiple issues with his team's leadership.
“The job itself I loved, it was just the extra stuff — the coworkers, the managers, the way everything was handled that was horrible,” he said.
Miles said he was scheduled to work during fall break in 2022 without signing up for those shifts. He then emailed his supervisor about the scheduling and said he felt they did not prioritize his concerns.
“The Union can be very demanding, and sometimes when they’re demanding, they forget that we’re students at the end of the day,” he said.
In a written statement to The Daily Tar Heel, Miles recommended that the Carolina Union provide better training for supervisors to handle conflict and issues with employees, as well as better training for supervisors to make their workplace a more inclusive and safer environment to bring concerns.