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. 

In conversations with dozens of employees we have discovered that Pellissippi employees share the same concerns that 1000’s of other Tennessee higher education workers face-  years without decent salary increases, the inability for career advancement, and eroding tenure rights.  Despite this a large number of employees we’ve spoken with have a strong allegiance and loyalty to the institution- much like the core of UCW’s members do at the schools we have established presences at.

It goes without saying that many higher education employees simply could not afford such a pay reduction. In the 2009-2010 budget year UT and TBR paid some 5,000 employees salaries of less than $25,000 per year. Working people from across our state have borne the brunt of this "great recession," and despite some positive economic indicators working- and middle-class Tennesseans continue doing more work for less purchasing power. Already we are having to choose between buying groceries or paying our utilities, between paying our insurance premiums or our mortgages.

UCW has been on the move for certain in 2010.  We have continued to grow in strength, approaching nearly 1100 members statewide.  In January we kicked off the year with a banquet here in Knoxville featuring the leader of the Mississippi Alliance of State Workers, Brenda Scott.

United Campus Workers – Communication Workers of America, Tennessee’s higher education union, has been working since last October to expand the protections higher education employees have in the event of layoffs. In January, UCW-CWA worked with Rep. Barbara Cooper (D-Memphis), Sen. Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville) and Sen.

An email sent Wednesday, February 17, 2010 titled “Urgent That You Use Current UT Personnel Policies” from Vice Chancellor Al Hooten and Human Resources Director Phil Bright rescinded all printed personnel policies and work rules, and directed supervisors to only use those policies and procedures found on the UT website. Copies of the email are being distributed to all UTM Housing employees.