Monday, April 29, 2019

United College Workers establishes first union at Ole Miss

The Daily Mississippian, the independent, student run paper at the University of Mississippi, reports that United College Workers (UCW) has officially chartered a local at the University of Mississippi.

The UCW, affiliated with the Communication Workers of America (CWA), is the first officially chartered local to form on the Ole Miss campus. It is an inclusive union and welcomes anyone at the university who is employed at the university, regardless of classification or title. This means that everyone from student workers to full-time faculty qualify for representation by UCW, though Mississippi is a "right-to-work" state which prevents automatic enrollment upon employment.

UCW was originally founded at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville as the result of a living wage campaign. While UCW at the University of Mississippi has, until now, been primarily focused on obtaining its charter, campaigns by UCW at U of Tennessee and the University of Georgia have focused on employee parking fees and safety and health hazards faced by custodial workers. Members of the UCW at Ole Miss have made it clear that they view the job of the union to be very broad, encompassing more than just bread and butter issues around salary and benefits, and look to the history of unions in the South being at the forefront of struggles against racism and sexism as a examples of how they can build a winning organization.

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