Sunday, August 12, 2018

New semester sees renewed effort by labor union to organize workers at University of Georgia and Georgia Gwinnett College



With the start of the fall semester, the United Campus Workers of Georgia is beginning its “living wage campaign” at the University of Georgia in Athens.

The implementation of new guidelines for the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) at UGA in 2016 was the impetus for starting the union organizing effort. According to UCWGA, over 3000 workers were affected negatively by UGA's administrators implementation of FLSA. 

Since then, the organizing campaign has taken on new issues affecting UGA employees.

On August 11, the labor union sponsored a Living Wage Picnic at the Bishop Park Pavilion in Athens.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s living wage calculator for the state of Georgia and open records acquired by UCWGA, revealed that for UGA employees, annual salaries differ drastically among staff members. Service and maintenance workers may not always make a living wage.

The Red and Black newspaper reports that “other rights UCWGA has fought for include free parking for employees. The labor union held an event in June asking UGA to alter its parking pass system — previously, there was no free parking on campus, and all employees had to pay a maximum price of $40 per month for a spot that is not guaranteed to be in their desired location.”

This fall the university is offering a $10-per-month park-n-ride parking lot. The park-n-ride allows UGA employees and students to buy a parking pass and then take the campus bus to their desired location from 6:55 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.

UCWGA is part of the Communications Workers of America and is designated as CWA Organizing Local 3265. The local has expanded its efforts to include organizing workers at Georgia Gwinnett College

The efforts in Athens and in Gwinnett County may take on added interest as the Georgia Republican candidate for governor, Brian Kemp, is a graduate of UGA and continues to reside in the Athens area.