Legislature Approves 2012 FY Budget, Includes First Pay Raise in Four Years

United Campus Workers (UCW), Tennessee's higher education union of staff and faculty, welcomes news of the budget passed by the General Assembly late Saturday night. The budget includes $45 million in higher education capital improvement and delayed maintenance funding and a 1.6% pay raise, the first salary adjustment for the vast majority of higher-education employees in four years. Additionally the inclusion of $3 million in state money to draw $60 million in federal extended unemployment benefits is much needed for Tennessee working families struggling with job loss during this recession. Read rundown of budget from AP here.

Announcing the creation of our chapter!

More news to follow soon!

March 15 Rally for Good Jobs, Living Wages, and Our Public Services!

Stand at the Capitol for Good Jobs and Living Wages! Stop the Attacks on Public Workers and Our Public Services! Join community, faith and labor organizations from across Tennessee to demand that Governor Haslam and the General Assembly get their priorities straight. The attacks on teachers, firefighters, and all public workers have to end! Tennesseans need jobs, good jobs that pay living wages and have health care. We need green jobs and jobs that don't discriminate against workers. And now more than ever we need our invaluable public services. Public workers did not cause the problems we face, and endless attacks on public workers' rights do not provide real solutions.

$2000 Across the Board Pay Raise Bill Introduced

United Campus Workers has been working hard to win a pay raise for all higher education workers.

Last week State Representative Mike Turner and State Senator Beverly Marrero introduced legislation that will provide for an across the board $2000 pay raise to all Tennessee higher education workers.  Click HERE to see the legislation.

Its time to fight for a raise and save jobs!

As we start another year the economic crisis kicked off by the Wall Street bankers continues.

On November 2 Tennessee voters elected a new governor and a new General Assembly.

As candidates many of these newly elected officials bragged about their unique abilities to fix this economic crisis. That is why they must hear from you about how the economic crisis is hurting your family and quality of life. Our already thin paychecks are shrinking by the day as health care costs skyrocket and the effects of 4 years without a pay raise take their toll.

With price increases for gas, food, housing, and this month's insurance premium hike, the only thing that isn't going up is our pay checks.

UT President Joe Diepietro and TBR Chancellor John Morgan recently have both publicly stated the need for salary increases for staff and faculty. You should pat yourself on the back, because of your union membership and the work you've help push forward for UCW’s 2011 campaign these pressing issues are be discussed by top higher education officials.

For some, the Tennessee economy is slowly improving.  In fact, for the first quarter of this fiscal year sales tax collections outpaced projections by $46 million, the highest since 2007! For the current fiscal year Tennessee is $78 million above projections.

As these trends continue, we cannot allow the state legislature to use the excuse of a "bad economy" to keep hard-working higher education employees down.  There will be no "economic recovery" until working class Tennesseans see improvements in our pocketbooks. We need an equal dollar pay raise for all Tennessee higher education workers and no more job losses.

Southwest needs adequate funding, not more layoffs

President Essex's memo announcing plans to implement another round of RIFs (Reductions in Force) during the spring semester is very concerning. UCW-CWA has already begun fighting these layoffs. Below you can read the formal Open Records Request our union sent to Southwest administrators on November 29, 2010 and their response. As we receive documents uncovered by this request we will post them to the website.

State tax collections have exceeded expectations by over $60 million since July 1, 2010. Likewise last week the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that Tennessee is one of 6 states accused of bending the rules by cutting higher education budgets too deeply while taking millions in State Maintenance of Effort funding. In both cases these funds could easily prevent any budget cuts to Southwest, offset the increased health insurance costs we face and provide a significant equal-dollar pay raise to all higher education employees. Additionally, the announcements of state funding for new building projects at community colleges across Tennessee make it clear that we do not face questions of resources, we face questions of priorities.

Saturday, December 11 WETS Community Forum Spotlighting UCW's work at ETSU

Faculty and staff coming together at ETSU

Exciting developments have emerged over the past month as active organizing drives have begun at Tennessee Tech and East Tennessee State University.  

Check out this video featuring ETSU's Michael Zavada on the ongoing campaign and the interview on WETS!

Announcing the 2011 Campaign for Raises, Healthcare, and Good Jobs!

On Saturday, October 2, 2010 union members from across Tennessee met in Nashville to plan our campaign for the coming year.  Out of this day long meeting the following priorities were outlined:

1. Responding to the new state insurance plan, with its skyrocketing prices and benefit cuts.

2. Living wages for all higher education employees and a long-overdue equal-dollar pay raise.

3. Protecting jobs, programs and state funding as the stimulus ends.

4. Obtaining due-process rights already provided to other state employees, including a consistent grievance policy and procedure.