Campus workers join fast food strikes demanding $15 and a union May 15, 2014
Shortly after 9:30am Monday morning, October 20, 2014 in an email to all staff and faculty University of Memphis President M. David Rudd announced the university "has requested Tennessee Board of Regents’ approval to increase the minimum salary for all employees in regular, benefits-eligible positions to $10.10 per hour, effective January 2015." When approved the base pay raise will represent a 14% increase for the lowest paid employees. (Full text of President Rudd's announcement is available below.) This most welcome news comes four years after campus workers launched a living wage campaign and organizing drive to build their union United Campus Workers, and is the latest in an ever growing list of victories for the movement to win living wages for workers on university campuses, at fast food restaurants, in home healthcare work, and many other sectors of the economy.
"When I heard about the President's announcement I couldn't help but screaming. I was standing in my house and started yelling 'WE ARE WINNING," explained longtime University of Memphis custodian and UCW Vice President Thelma Jean Rimmer. "Many of my coworkers believed this could never happen. We have worked so hard, and this isn't over. But today is a good day, and I see what we can do."