Members of the United Campus Workers at the University of Kentucky (UCW-CWA Local 3365) have been fighting for a living wage, paid parental leave for staff, hazard pay for essential workers, and more for over a year. On May 20, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto announced a commitment to increase minimum hourly pay to $15 beginning January 1, 2022. Members also won new paid family leave options, a merit increase, a one-time $1,000 payment to regular employees, and resumption of the employer retirement contribution which had been suspended during the pandemic.
The lowest-paid workers on campus will see a significant pay increase. They include custodians and other facilities workers who have been on the front lines, keeping campus open and clean during the COVID-19 crisis. Cory Pollard, a custodial worker at UK for 5 years and a UCW-CWA Local 3365 steward, said, "We are pleased about the pay increase to $15 an hour. We have fought this past year and a half for President Capilouto to listen to us. It's a very big victory, a turn in the right direction."
"This is a fantastic start, but it is not enough," said graduate worker Abi Stephens. "Even with this change, too many workers are unable to live on the pay they receive at UK. Graduate student workers need stipends that provide a living wage, and undergraduate workers deserve to earn at least $15 per hour. We need fair compensation for our contributions to this campus."