Victory for Campus Workers - Rudd Commits to $15/hour Minimum Wage

Memphis, TN - On Tuesday, University of Memphis President Rudd emailed all campus workers announcing a commitment to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour effective June 5, 2021. Union and community members have been campaigning for a living wage for years. The lowest paid workers who will see a raise include custodians and other physical plant workers who have been on the front lines of keeping campus open and clean during the COVID-19 crisis. 

“We have been working on this since 2017 and it’s finally here," said Doris Brooks-Conley and Thelma Jean Rimmer, long-time custodians and leaders in United Campus Workers. "I’m so overwhelmed I don’t have words, I’m glad for my coworkers and all they have gone through and never gave up.”

Meghan Cullen, UCW VP of the University of Memphis Chapter, said, "Over the past three years the University community has made a point to demand economic justice for its lowest paid workers. In addition to the tremendous advocacy by the union, the Faculty and Staff Senate called for a raise to a $15/hour minimum wage in a joint resolution in 2018. I am grateful that the University’s administration has heard our demand and taken action."

The announcement comes as front line workers all over the country are calling for hazard pay due to increased health and safety risks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Campus workers and community supporters celebrated the news and will be watching for President Rudd to uphold his word and enact the raise in June.

Anne Langendorfer, UCW President and a lecturer at the University of Tennessee, said, "UCW has been fighting for $15/hour for a really long time. It's about time and we are thrilled that University of Memphis workers fought for what they deserve. We look forward to other higher education institutions joining the universities in Memphis in paying them what they deserve." 

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United Campus Workers - Communications Workers of America Local 3865 is Tennessee's higher education union. UCW organizes for economic justice and democracy on campus and across Tennessee. More information at www.ucw-cwa.org.