UK Main Campus

Our Platform at the University of Kentucky

Chop From the Top

During this time of crisis, we are arguing that high-paid administrators should take pay cuts before going after the least paid workers on campus. The 100 jobs of the recently furloughed department managers could have been saved if the administration had instead cut the salaries of the top 10% of earners at UK by only 2% for three months. Moreover, we know that the cuts the high-paid administrators have already made have been totally unnecessary. UK is in a strong financial position. In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, UK posted a $213 million gain in net assets. We believe that UK should not be using this crisis as an excuse to go after low-paid workers but should instead take cuts themselves and offer all campus workers job security, a living wage, affordable and comprehensive health insurance, and a safe work environment free of racism where all workers are respected.

Racial Justice

United Campus Workers of Kentucky supports the Movement for Black Lives. Both publicly, and in meetings with the administration, we have proposed that President Eli Capilouto address racism by taking the concrete steps of:

Health, Safety, and Dignity

We ask that Eli Capilouto take the following steps to ensure the health, safety, and dignity of all campus workers during the pandemic and beyond:

  • Guarantee the right for all campus workers whose work allows it to go remote.
  • Offer free continuous COVID-19 testing for all students and workers (including UK Healthcare workers).
  • Be transparent with the campus community regarding the rate of COVID-19 infection for students and campus workers, the threshold points at which the University would transition remote-learning in regards to infection and death of students and campus workers, and in regards to contact-tracing (students and workers deserve to know if they have been exposed to the virus and if the administration is continuing to expose them to the virus).
  • Cover all health care costs associated with COVID-19 covered at 100% for all campus workers (including part-time and graduate workers).
  • Offer part-time workers and graduate workers affordable, comprehensive healthcare (as is offered to full-time staff and faculty through the HMO plan).
  • Offer a living wage for all campus workers, in particular graduate, facilities, and part-time workers. According to the MIT living wage calculator that would mean: $23,946 for a single adult with no children, $49,916 for a single adult with 1 child, or $62,033 for a single with 2 children.
  • Offer a two-dollar Hazard Pay increase to all facilities workers during the pandemic for the risk of bodily harm they are facing on a daily basis.
  • Create an improved — and multilingual — benefit orientation for all STEPS and temporary employees informing them of their benefits. Many do not know they have access to health benefits.
  • Add more staff to the Counseling Center, specifically Queer and POC affirming counselors.

Protecting the Rights of International Academics

UCWKY stands with international academics during this difficult time. Both nationally (in conjunction with our parent union, CWA) and locally, we have advocated for the rights of immigrant scholars. At the University of Kentucky, we have Proposed that Eli Capilouto take the following steps to support international scholars:

  • Ensure that international graduate students who are stuck overseas due to COVID keep their assistantships or receive an alternative source of funding;
  • Extend more opportunities for summer funding to international students; and
  • Create a database for employment opportunities available to international students.

Supporting Families

We are in favor of the administration taking the following steps at UK to support workers and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Offer free UK Childcare for UK students and workers, or waivers at other centers.
  • Create a UK-provided drop-in center for childcare.
  • Create a pool of qualified and subsidized babysitters.
  • Offer the right to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents need to be able to be at home as schools throughout the Commonwealth and tri-state area are not offering full-time in-person education, and many childcare centers are closed, have even longer waitlists than usual, or have raised their rates.
  • Offer paid parental leave for 6 weeks to all workers.
  • Offer Graduate Teaching Assistants funding extensions so they can stay home with kids during the pandemic.
  • Extend EFMLEA or a version of paid family leave to graduate students unable to take on assistantships while caring for dependents.
  • Alter the normative time clock for faculty and graduate students. Create different standards for “good progress” during this pandemic.
  • Create a parent resource center with activity backpacks to check out, and staff who can help parents connect with resources and each other.
  • Create a kids playroom, library, and playground.
  • Offer more and better lactation rooms, and change all signage and language from "mother’s" to "lactation" or "parent resource" rooms.
  • Install more changing tables and equal numbers in both male and female restrooms, as well as universal bathrooms.
  • Remove university policy that discourages children on campus.