UTK Lecturers Win $5000 Raise

Knoxville, TN - After more than two years of campaigning by United Campus Workers, on Monday, March 1 at the monthly Faculty Senate meeting at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Provost John Zomchick announced a raise in the floor for annual salaries for full-time non-tenure-track faculty without terminal degrees to $40,000, $45,000 for terminal degrees. This raise affects 112 non-tenure track faculty retroactive to February 1.

The announcement is a major win for UTK's Lecturer Organizing Committee, whose pay campaign for non-tenure-track faculty began in January 2019. Since then, base pay for non-tenure-track faculty with terminal degrees has risen $9,000.

Anne Langendorfer, President of United Campus Workers and Lecturer in English at UTK, said, "We're thrilled to have won huge gains for members who have fought for higher wages. We look forward to fighting for higher wages for all employees. When we stand together, WE WIN."

In reaction to the $5,000 increase, Dylan Bloy, a lecturer in Classics, responded: “This raise should help to stabilize our family finances that have been impacted both by the pandemic and the high cost of child care in the region, while more appropriately rewarding my professional degrees and experience.”

Faculty Senators and members of United Campus Workers continue to pressure University administration to improve working conditions. In a pair of resolutions also passed Monday, Faculty Senators supported residence hall custodians and frontline workers receiving hazard pay and eliminating graduate student fees by Fall 2021.

Faculty Senators Harrison Meadows and Mia Romano drafted the Hazard Pay Resolution to urge the administration to grant hazard pay to residence hall custodians and other essential workers on campus, whose working conditions increase their risk of COVID exposure without the vaccine. On October 30, 2020, custodians held a press event on campus to call for hazard pay and an increased salary to $15 an hour, but the University has resisted hazard pay.

Faculty Senator Mary McAlpin drafted the Graduate Student Fee Resolution along with Ashley Browning and Trevor Wilson of the Graduate Student Senate and Darcy Ayers and Allison Becha of UCW. Since February 2020, UTK graduate assistants have been circulating a petition about eliminating their fees. The Senate resolution acknowledges graduate fees at UTK are much higher than the national norm. Fee waivers would drastically improve the financial security of graduate assistants who provide essential teaching and research to the university.

Non-tenure-track faculty continue to advocate for two-year contracts for initial full-time appointments and pay increases that address salary compression and for job security, two UCW demands which Provost Zomchick has not addressed.