Myths and Facts about Joining United Campus Workers

MYTH 1: It costs too much to join.

FACT: Joining UCW-CWA means paying monthly dues of $13. That this is only $0.43 a day. Consider you may have spent many times that amount to get an education because you rightly saw it as an investment in your future. Similarly, joining the union is a collective investment with direct benefits to you. UCW-CWA has lead the fight for pay raises,and because of organizing efforts at UT the pay for staff has increased by over $3,000 since 2004.

MYTH 2: Unions are illegal in Tennessee and I can be fired for joining.

FACT: No, unions are not illegal in Tennessee.Your right to belong and be active in a union or employees association is protected by state and federal law. It is illegal, however, to be fired for joining a union.

MYTH 3: If I join a union, I will be forced to strike.

FACT: Tennessee law currently prohibits state workers from striking. But more important, we are the union! UCW-CWA does what our members want to do. Through the union, all workers have a voice. UCW was started in 2000 by a small group of UT workers. Though we now have over 1,000 members across the state at TBR and UT schools, we are still a union that is run by its members!

MYTH 4: Union dues go to pay labor bureaucrats who hobnob with managers and politicians.

FACT: UCW-CWA’s elected leadership is made up of rank-and-rile higher education employees who are elected by other union members. Executive Board members are not paid. As a member, you see where your money goes. We are a democratic organization- you have a vote on where your membership dollars are spent. Additionally, we have quarterly financial reports which detail where your dues money goes, and every member has a right to request detailed accounts of all expenses.

MYTH 5: I am a professional. I do not need a union. Unions are for factory workers.

FACT: Being a “professional” is no protection against being underpaid, overworked, or treated unfairly. In fact, professionals are sometimes the most overworked and underpaid. This fact has lead tens of thousands of university faculty, professional staff and technical employees across the country to form unions. It is why millions of nurses are in unions. Being in a union is not about the type of work you do. It is about respect and fairness on the job. We all deserve those things.