Monday, June 27, 2011

University of Memphis Raise Announcement: First Step to a Living Wage

    I'm excited to announce our first victory in the living wage campaign at the University of Memphis! On Thursday, the University of Memphis, along with other Tennessee Board of Regents, announced salary increases for fiscal year 2012. The proposed raises are 3 percent, or a minimum of $750 per full-time worker. Part-time workers will get raises in proportion to the hours they work. The raises must still be approved by the full Board of Regents.

U. of M. workers, students, and WIN members made this victory possible through many actions, including delivering 1,000 living wage petitions to President Raines' office.
     This is the first raise that higher education workers have received in four years, and it wouldn't have happened without the outcry from members of Workers Interfaith Network, United Campus Workers, and the Progressive Student Alliance. Thank you to everyone who rallied, sent emails, participated in vigils, and made calls to the University!

    You can be especially encouraged by the Board of Regents' decision to include flat dollar minimum raise of $750. About 2,500 workers at Board of Regents schools will be affected by the flat dollar raise. The United Campus Workers have been pushing this approach for years because it can move workers up to a living wage much faster than a percentage pay raise would. Rest assured, it is the living wage campaign carried out by workers, community members, and students that convinced the Board of Regents to use this approach.

    Of course, the University of Memphis has many more steps to take to bring all its workers up to a living wage. We look forward to hearing from President Raines about what the University's concrete plan and timelines are for implementing a living wage on campus.

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