Tennessee Tech Caucus

Join UCW Members and TTU College Democrats for our annual Faculty & Staff Appreciation Cookout:

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 11am-1pm on South Patio!

Tennessee Tech UCW Members meet every 4th Thursday at 5:00pm at 111 N Cedar Ave.

Email Cassie Watters at cassie@ucw-cwa.org for more details -- spread the word!


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Campus & community supporters stand out on Dixie Ave

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Terri Stidham, Staff Chairperson
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Dr. Jon Jonakin, Faculty Chairperson



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Check out and help spread the word on the blog that logs your voices and vision for TTU’s future.


On February 13, 2012, over 80 students, faculty, staff, custodians, community members, and others who support Tennessee Technological University (TTU) Custodians gathered on the Main Quad of the campus to mourn the “cost-saving” scheme to lay off many of the lowest-paid workers, the custodians, by outsourcing them, and the shadowy process by which the contract was finalized. Tech administration secretly signed over the employment of Tech custodians to SSC Service Solutions, a subsidiary of the multinational Compass Group, based out of the United Kingdom. Local faith leaders from Presbyterian, Jewish, United Church of Christ, Bahai, and Quaker faith backgrounds prayed for vision, courage, and justice, and allowed the crowd to mourn the selling of this group of employees of a public higher education institution and the main employer in the area to a profit-driven corporation.

See past information below. See photos here. See video clips: Vigil, Building Roll Call, If I Had a Hammer.


Ministers, Faith Leaders Lead Prayer Vigil Against Outsourcing of TTU Custodians

Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville—Following the announcement by Tech administration to move forward with the “cost saving” scheme to lay off many of its lowest-paid workers, the custodians, by outsourcing them, local ministers and faith leaders will gather on Monday, February 13 at 5pm on the Main Quad (near 7th St across the roundabout from the Nursing Building) on campus to pray for vision, courage, and justice.

“It’s urgent that we act,” said Reverend Pat Handlson of First Presbyterian Church. “The Bible tells us in Proverbs 31:8 to ‘open our mouths for…the rights of all the unfortunate,’ and ‘defend the rights of the afflicted and the needy.’ That’s precisely what we’re gathering here to do—to speak up for those whose voices have not been heard by the Tech administration.

Even as state revenues rise and promised funding for higher education institutions increases, and as Tech begins to see the reward of energy efficiency cost saving measures, administrators have signaled that they intend to move ahead with the outsourcing scheme. Some 45 custodians stand to lose their jobs and livelihoods, even after working at Tech for more than a decade.

“I don’t know what I’ll do if we get outsourced. I depend on this check, and I depend on this community,” said Tech custodian Terri Stidham, who has served Tech for 13 years. “To be just thrown out like garbage, well that hurts, and it’s not right.”

President Bell is able to stop the outsourcing scheme, which would turn employment of custodians over to Service Solutions, a subsidiary of the multinational Compass Group, based out of the United Kingdom.

“We’re praying for righteousness, for compassion, for justice. We don’t see turning over our tax payer dollars—and more importantly the wellbeing of our hardworking community members, sisters, and brothers—over to a multinational corporation as anything other than taking the lowest road,” said Rev. Handlson.

All people of faith and all those concerned for the plight of the Tech custodians are encouraged to attend the vigil. Participants will light candles and join in song and prayer, reciting the building in which they work/live and the custodian/s who are part of their family.


********************FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE *** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*******************

UCW-CWA welcomes news of TTU President Bell’s announcement that campus custodians can return to their regularly scheduled first shift, effective immediately!

December 1, 2010

For the past month, Tech custodians working in academic buildings have been struggling to make it through the night shift. With just 10 days notice to shuffle their home and work lives, custodians were ordered to switch from their regularly scheduled shift to third. Many even forced to quit one of their jobs to accommodate the new scheduling.

Faculty, staff, and students alike began speaking out against this shift change:  collecting petition signatures, contacting administrators, and writing to the media about their concerns. Most importantly, an increasing number of TTU employees have begun organizing a chapter of United Campus Workers – CWA, Tennessee’s higher education union.

On Monday, November 29 at a Faculty Senate meeting, TTU President Bell announced that custodians would be moved back to their normal shifts starting Dec. 1. “I really believe these changes occurred because of an overwhelming collective response from the campus community,” says a concerned Tech staff member. While the custodians and their allies couldn’t be happier about getting back to their normal work schedules, the issue is not yet resolved, as budget cuts are still looming.

Many saw this as a clear first step towards privatization—outsourcing the cleaning of campus buildings to a private company—leaving the most vulnerable and underpaid campus workers without jobs or benefits. “We are loyal and hard working employees. If we get laid off, we’ll lose our lives, our insurance, everything. What are we supposed to do?” asks an affected employee.

“The good news is that the administration has reversed course and is permitting the custodians to return to their regular shifts”, says Jon Jonakin, a faculty member present at the Nov. 29 meeting. “The bad news is that outsourcing is the preferred option of the administration and has been all along. We need to come up with an alternative policy that spreads the pain more equitably, because that’s just what we’re dealing with here--pain.”

Administrators admitted that budget cuts are what prompted the shift changes in custodial services. UCW has been fighting budget cuts to TBR and UT schools at the state legislature for the past three years.  “An investment in education will help our state recover; cuts will have the opposite effect. With tax revenues the highest we’ve seen in the past three years, the last thing our state needs are more layoffs that put people out of work and take money out of our economy,” says UCW President Tom Anderson.

United Campus Workers is a union of nearly 1,200 higher education staff and faculty across the TBR and UT system schools. We are a voice that protects the rights and interests of all employees on our campuses and in the legislature. Join Us!