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United Campus Workers Win in Tennessee, Fight for a Liveable Wage in Mississippi

Last Thursday, in a win for members of United Campus Workers at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UCW-CWA Local 3865), the University of Tennessee announced graduate student workers will no longer have to pay student fees. This move will save graduate assistants – those who work teaching or performing research – nearly $2,000 a year. For the last three years, the members of UCW-CWA Local 3865 have been fighting to eliminate these burdensome fees that add to the financial hardships the workers are already facing as the cost of living continues to rise. This win follows the successful efforts of the members of United Campus Workers-Georgia (CWA Local 3265) to remove the "Special Institutional Fee" across all public universities in Georgia.

In Mississippi, part-time and full-time staff, faculty, and student workers from the University of Southern Mississippi, members of United Campus Workers of Mississippi (UCW-CWA Local 3565) held a rally last Thursday to call on the university to raise the school’s minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour. The university advertises its role as an economic driver for the community, generating an annual economic impact of over $600 million. Yet, the lowest paid university workers receive an annual salary of only $21,000 (roughly $10.50/hr) – a sub-poverty wage for those with families. The rally ended with the delivery of more than 300 employee signatures to University President Rodney Bennett pressing for the establishment of a living wage for all employees.

Members of United Campus Workers of Mississippi (UCW-CWA Local 3565) and supporters held a rally to call for the establishment of a living wage for all employees.