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We are the campus workers that make campus work. We work across classifications – from  instruction, research, and academic support, to service, maintenance, clerical, and technical – and come together across institutions to organize for a voice on the job and in the public sphere on matters big and small.

We bring our passion and our values with us to work in hopes of creating a better world; we care for and maintain public institutions, support student learning, create and disseminate knowledge, and shape critical thinking. Our work has an immeasurable impact on society. Students' learning conditions are our working conditions. 

We are building the power to take higher education back from corporations and billionaires and put it in the hands of workers, students, and communities. A full time job should keep us out of poverty not in it. 

Join us to stand up for fair pay, quality benefits, and a voice at work and beyond!

"We Deserve Better Pay" Memphis Public Sector 2019

Our History

All major movements for social change in the United States have included organizing in the South. Nowhere in this country is organizing more important than in the region where workers, particularly women and workers of color, have been systematically exploited. The story of United Campus Workers begins here. 

In the 1980’s state employees without formal bargaining rights in Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri organized with CWA on a mass scale, realizing public worker rights and material gains. Following a Living Wage Campaign in the 2000s, the United Campus Workers of Tennessee declared together, “we are a union.”

Since then we have expanded our reach and won victories big and small, including the stopping of outsourcing of thousands of facilities services workers across TN’s public higher education institutions, to securing full fee waivers for graduate students at CU Boulder. We’ve stopped harassment from abusive supervisors, and changed the culture of many of our workplaces and departments. 

Our movements across campuses continue to grow. Today UCW spans across the nation, with campus workers in states such Arizona, Colorado, and Wisconsin now joining our numbers from the South. United Campus Workers is now more than 7,000 members strong, and we continue in our efforts to organize, fight, and win. 

While we do not currently have the legal right to bargain with our employers in all the states we represent, this is only one method workers have historically used to raise their voices and make change at work. 

Many issues unite us, and right now our members across the country are rallying behind causes such as:

  • A living wage of $20+/hour base pay for all campus workers
  • Elimination of student fees for graduate workers
  • Health insurance subsidization for graduate workers
  • Increase in stipends for graduate workers
  • Cost of living adjustments for all campus workers
  • Increases in minimum per-class rates for non-tenure track professors