UofM alumni workers want health insurance and living wages
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (WMC) – United Campus Workers (UCW) alumni demand health insurance and a living wage in a letter sent to the administration of the University of Memphis.
This request includes a health insurance plan for graduates that covers essential benefits as defined by the Affordable Care Act and pays at least 80% of covered medical costs.
The letter also calls for a $15 minimum wage for all graduates and funding for graduate worker health insurance that does not lead to a reduction in graduate scholarships.
According to UCW, the University of Memphis does not currently guarantee health insurance for alumni.
For the past three years, UCW’s Graduate Workers Organizing Committee (GWOC) has required the university to ensure full health coverage for all graduate workers on campus.
But UCW says the university refused to commit, even after securing an R1 classification as a leading research university.
In June, UCW launched a petition calling for better working conditions, including fair staffing, improved facilities and the ability to return to previous shifts after night shifts.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, UCW called on administrators to ensure the safety of everyone involved with university campuses.
Graduates can opt-in to some medical services through the Church Health Center’s MEMPHIS Plan, but the plan is not insurance, UCW said.
“The U of M website describes the ‘Ministry of Health … consisting of volunteer doctors and donated medical services,’ and as of spring 2019, only 49 graduate students were enrolled in the plan. I was participating.”
Earlier this summer, UCW said it received word that the university was considering an “emergency fund” for expenses not covered by the MEMPHIS plan.
Union members, however, argue that the emergency fund “provides only the bare minimum, not the long-term or preventative compensation that other University of Memphis employees already enjoy.”
The GWOC wrote, “The University of Memphis continues to maintain its lowest level of graduate scholarships, but graduate students continue to fend for themselves with high medical bills.” “It is unacceptable that a university that claims to be a world-class research institution cannot meet this basic need for researchers and teaching assistants.”
In a statement, the GWOC said, “We will continue to fight for new graduates on campus, undergraduates considering graduate school, the broader UofM community, the media, and everyone else who hears us.” rice field.
Attached is the UCW letter sent to the university administration.
Action News 5 reached out to the university for comment, but did not receive a response.
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