News

On November 2 Tennessee voters elected a new governor and a new General Assembly. 

These elected officials must hear from us about how we the economic crisis is adversely affecting our families and quality of life. 

Some economic conditions are slowly improving in Tennessee.  In fact, for the first quarter of this fiscal year sales tax collections outpaced projections by $46 million, the highest since 2007!  As these trends continue, we cannot allow the excuse of a "bad economy" to be used to keep hard working higher education employees down.  There will be no "economic recovery" until working class Tennesseans see improvements in their economic condition.

If you are already a union member, get involved by attending your local area meeting and helping in our lobbying efforts- sign up HERE to get involved!    If you haven’t joined UCW, now is the best time to take action on your own behalf to better your condition.  As individuals change is hard to achieve, and nearly impossible with the obstacles we face.  Only by coming together can we look out for ourselves and our communities.  Click HERE to join your Union!

"Seeing the state come up $550,000 a year for the UTHSC Chancellor and $305,000 a year for a TBR Chancellor just reinforces how little they seem to care that many of the people that actually clean and maintain the facilities, teach our children, and make sure the offices run smoothly live below the poverty line, and that many more earn far less than the prevailing wage for their positions."

In the Knoxville area, we are endorsing Sam Alexander for House District 18.   If you are interested in supporting the Local's electoral efforts in Knoxville, please contact Thomas Walker, chair of the Electoral Committee, at [email protected].  Mr. Alexander's responses to our candidate survey and in conversations with members have been very strongly supportive of our issues.  In particular:

 

Dr. Jan Simek
Acting President
The University of Tennessee
800 Andy Holt Tower Knoxville, TN 37996-0180

Steve J. Schwab, MD
Chancellor
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
62 South Dunlap, Suite 220
Memphis, TN 38163

Dear Drs. Simek and Schwab,

I am writing in regards to the Reductions in Force that have begun this week at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. I represent more than 1,100 public higher education employees across the state, including well over a hundred in the Memphis area.

We are deeply disturbed that these layoffs are going ahead despite the fact that federal stimulus monies designed to save jobs are available for nearly another year, and despite the Jobs bill signed this week by President Obama that sends money to states, including Tennessee, specifically to help save public-sector jobs, including those in education.

We are further disturbed by the mixed message being sent in hiring a new Chancellor at $550,000 per year while laying off hardworking, dedicated employees, many of whom barely earn $25,000 per year and who have not received even a modest raise in more than three years.

We are demanding fairness and consideration of those laid off in the severance packages they have been offered.

As we understand the facts, RIFed employees will only receive severance pay equal to the wages they would have earned through September 30, 2010, a date which cuts them out of any possible bonus money from the state should it go out.  There are no current plans on the administration’s part to provide either severance equal to what other state employees have received during recent layoffs or an extension of education benefits via tuition credits. It is ironic that other state employees get tuition credits but those who have dedicated years to higher education are offered none.

Our demands boil down to basic fairness and humanity:

1.      No additional layoffs.

2.      Recall rights, where laid off workers receive priority hiring for any positions that come open at UTHSC, and/or placement of RIFed workers into currently open UTHSC positions.

3.      Adequate severance pay equal to that provided by statute to other state workers.

4.      Tuition credits equal to a two-year extension of the current education benefits offered by UTHSC.

5.      Full disclosure of how these layoffs were conducted to verify that no irregularities or discrimination based on gender, race, or age took place.

Accepting these fair and just demands is the least you can do if you insist on continuing with these layoffs. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you may have.

Sincerely,

 

Thomas Anderson
President
United Campus Workers - Communications Workers of America Local 3865
1124 N. Broadway
Knoxville, TN 37917
UCW Office: 865-329-0085
Mobile: 865-934-7373

 

cc:Congressman Steve Cohen, U. S. Rep, District 9
The Honorable Barbara Cooper, Rep. District 86
The Honorable John DeBerry, Rep. District 90
The Honorable Roy Herron, Sen. District 24
The Honorable Ulysses Jones, Jr., Rep. District 98

The struggle is ongoing even with a CBA as can be seen by the private sector labor movement across the country.

Our strength comes from our members! Hundreds of union members have sent thousands of letters, made hundreds more phone calls, and some six dozen folks went as far as to take days off of work to directly lobby our elected officials at Legislative Plaza in Nashville

However some in the state senate are playing politics and making calculated decisions based on personal ambition for higher elected office. We need to remind them that Tennessee deserves real solutions from our elected officials in Nashville, not more cut-backs and political posturing. Many such solutions have been proposed and there is broad agreement.