UCW, Elected Officials Call for Expanded Vaccine Access
1000 CAMPUS WORKERS CALL ON GOVERNOR LEE AND COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH LISA PIERCEY TO INCLUDE HIGHER EDUCATION WORKERS IN COVID VACCINATION SCHEDULE
Nashville, TN -- On March 18th, 2021 Tennessee higher education workers together with State Representatives Gloria Johnson and Torrey Harris delivered an open letter with signatures from more than a thousand workers on higher education campuses across Tennessee and two hundred community members to Governor Lee and TN Commissioner of Health Lisa Piercey to demand that campus workers be included in the accelerated vaccination opportunities currently offered to all other educators in the state. Many campus workers such as facilities workers and custodians have been on campus throughout the entirety of the pandemic cleaning residence halls and academic buildings, maintaining facilities, and keeping campus running.
Anne Langendorfer, President of United Campus Workers and a lecturer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, said, "Immediate access to COVID-19 vaccinations is crucial to higher education’s recovery from the pandemic. The safety of campus workers needs to be a priority, so these workers can get on with the important goal of educating our citizens for a better post-pandemic future. Tennesseans need state higher education workers to be safe to do our work on campuses across the state. The work we do in research, teaching, and service is work that affects the lives of all Tennesseans."
Kari Neely, United Campus Workers Chapter Vice President and Associate Professor in World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Middle Tennessee State University, asked, "Why has Tennessee left out higher education employees in the state’s vaccination plan when Arkansas, West Virginia, Alabama, and Wisconsin have included higher education with K-12 employees in stage 1b? We have workers who are in daily contact with our on-campus students. It just makes sense that if we want our campuses fully open, Governor Lee should include higher ed workers with K-12."
The full text of the letter and signatures can be found at https://docs.google.com/document/d/12DNveI0G_VSdk2alHhr3FIRvacp4xixZHhmoEbsefew/edit?usp=sharing.