IMPORTANT CAMPAIGN UPDATE
This UCW-CWA campaign update has several important developments, including:
Recap of UCW's Annual Lobby Days
We saw the biggest outpouring of our members during UCW's annual lobby days on March 9 and March 16, 2010. Over 60 UCW members and student supporters came from campuses across Tennessee to lobby the Tennessee General Assembly. Our collective message:
- Higher education employees must receive the same layoff protections and due process rights as other state workers (HB2647/SB3085)·
- Do everything possible to save higher education jobs and programs
- Cut from top, not the bottom; address the massive increase of top level administration before more budget cuts to staff and faculty
- Ensure that the bonus is distributed as an equal dollar amount for all higher education employees
We met with over 50 leaders of the state house and senate. Members of House Finance, Ways and Means were given essential background information in preparation for the planned budget hearings on Wednesday, March 10. Equipped with fliers distributed by UCW-CWA, member after member of the committee asked pressing questions to TBR Chancellor Manning, UT President Simek, and THEC Executive Director Rhoda.
Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) asked about how the bonus could help out higher education workers struggling to make ends meet. "I am curious about the people who keep the buildings clean and the electricity on...And actually if we are worried about these hard times it might make more sense that more of this money would go to those who probably will turn right around and spend it and spend it here in Tennessee, where a six-figure person might go down to Florida and spend that bonus some place down there." Because of the efforts of our union both Dr. Simek and Dr. Manning acknowledged plans at UT and TBR to see that the bonus will go to those who truly need it the most.
Rep. Harry Tindell (D-Knoxville) pushed higher education to do the right thing and provide adequate notice to higher education workers if layoffs are planned, notice on an even playing field with what other state employees receive and what is mandated for private sector employees by federal statute.
UT President Simek was eager to cloud issues of administrative growth, attempting to convince committee members that "at a university like the University of Tennessee administration includes a wide range of jobs, from custodians, to police officers, to carpenters, to secretaries, to presidents."
Check out our 2010 Lobby Day Photo gallery at https://ucw-cwa.org/album/lobby-day-2010 .
Key step forward in campaign for equal layoff protections
Two days after UCW's member lobby day on Capitol Hill TBR Chancellor Dr. Charles Manning sent a memorandum to TBR system presidents and directors on reductions in force. In the document Chancellor Manning stated his “preference that reduction in force plans be considered as a last resort.” He went on to express his views that “in this difficult economic environment, I feel it our duty to plan to provide [90 days] of notice to our associates.”
For more information on this important victory, please check out the full account on our union's web page here: https://ucw-cwa.org/story/breaking-news-90-days-layoff-notification-tbr-chancellor
Regardless of whether passage of HB2647/SB3085 can happen during the legislative session, we will continue to pressure UT to follow suit.
Campaign for a Fair Bonus!
UCW-CWA is launching a major push to see that the proposed bonus be distributed as an equal dollar amount, which could mean a bonus of around $2,000 per person.
Go to http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/ucw_2010bonus to send an email to members of the Tennessee General Assembly who will be deliberating on this important issue.
Email email@example.com if you can help with postcard distribution/setting up a meeting in your building for other workers to learn more about this. Also check out https://ucw-cwa.org/content/political-action-publications to download the postcard documents for several key legislators!