Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Take Action: Urge President Raines to Take First Step To Living Wage

     On April 8th, you rallied for a living wage for all University of Memphis workers. A delegation of leaders from WIN, the United Campus Workers union, and the Progressive Student Alliance delivered more than 1,000 postcards that you signed to President Shirley Raines' office. Dr. David Cox, executive assistant to President Raines, met with the delegation. You can view pictures of the rally on WIN's facebook page. Soon after, President Raines met with several members of the Progressive Student Alliance to talk about the living wage issue.

    We appreciate President Raines meeting with students. Now is the time for the University to take a first concrete step toward a living wage. Please call her and urge her to implement a fair cost of living increase for workers, who haven't had any type of raise in four years.

A delegation of workers, students, and community members delivered
your living wage petitions to President Raines.
  Take Action: Call President Raines' office at 901-678-2234. Tell her that you are a community member who wants to see all University of Memphis workers earn a living wage. Ask her to take the first step toward the living wage by implementing an equal dollar cost of living increase for all employees.

What is an equal dollar cost of living increase?
   State higher education employees have gone without a pay raise, even adjustments to make up for a higher cost of living, for four years. This year, Governor Haslam's proposed budget includes a 1.6% pay raise for all state University employees. This percentage raise would mean a raise of $4,766 for President Raines, but a typical custodial worker would only get a raise of $250.

   An equal dollar cost of living adjustment would distribute funds in a fairer way. For example, all workers might get a $800 cost of living adjustment. While this wouldn't be enough to bring all workers up to a living wage, it would be a first step. And service workers like Emma Davis and Jean Rimmer can certainly find a way to use an extra $800 a year.

If you're told that only the Tennessee Board of Regents can control how pay raises are distributed:
   When you make your phone call, you may be told that President Raines doesn't control how pay raises are doled out. When she met with the Progressive Student Alliance, President Raines said that only the state legislature and the Tennessee Board of Regents could decide to distribute the pay raise as an equal dollar amount, rather than by percentages. That may be true, but if President Raines calls on the Board of Regents to distribute the pay raises in this way, they're very likely to listen to her.

But first, we have to get President Raines to listen to the community, so be sure to make that phone call today!

Want to take action with workers seeking justice? Sign up for email action alerts from Workers Interfaith Network at

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