[The following resolution was approved by the Faculty Senate on March 5, 2001.]

Resolution for a
Living Wage

Whereas the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Council for a Living Wage has defined a living wage in the Knoxville area as $9.50 per hour plus basic benefits, and

Whereas, of the 2,124 hourly non-exempt (hourly) workers employed at UT-Knoxville, 68 percent work in job classifications (grade levels 1-7) in which the average wage is less than a living wage of $9.50 per hour plus benefits, and

Whereas, the UTK Department of Human Resources estimates that 725 workers (34 percent of the total) work in job classifications (grade levels 1-5) where the average wage paid falls below the current federal poverty guideline of $17,050 for a family of four, and

Whereas the University of Tennessee currently has a minimum wage of only $6.25 per hour for all non-exempt (hourly) employees, and

Whereas, every employee at the University of Tennessee is vital to the fulfillment of our teaching, research and service mission, and

Whereas, the Faculty Senate is urging the University to make a long-term commitment to improving the wages of its lowest-paid workers so as to provide a living wage for UT employees, and

Whereas, the intent of the Faculty Senate is that this commitment should be carried out with integrity and consistency, and

Whereas, such a commitment means at a minimum that the University should refrain from balancing its budget by lowering the wages and benefits paid to workers who make less than a living wage, and

Whereas, over the past decade the University has in several instances moved to realize savings by privatizing and contracting out substantial portions of the lowest-paid jobs on campus, and

Whereas, the Faculty Senate has repeatedly tried to obtain information about wages now being paid to employees of private contractors who perform on-campus jobs as custodians and food services workers, but has thus far been rebuffed in these attempts, therefore,

Be it resolved that,

  1. The University of Tennessee uses the first 1.5 million dollars of discretionary, recurring funds annually for three years to increase the minimum wage for all non-exempt employees with the University of Tennessee while minimizing wage compression.

  2. The University of Tennessee makes a long-term commitment to improving the wages of its lowest paid workers to provide a living wage for UT employees.

  3. As part of its Iong-term commitment to improving the wages of its lowest-paid workers, in any future contracts negotiated by the University of Tennessee, the University will require a contractor whose employees perform their jobs on the UT campus to pay $9.50 per hour plus benefits or wages no less than those provided by the University to its own employees at comparable job levels.

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