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United Campus Workers of Kentucky Sound the Alarm for Nation’s Education System

Last week, the United Campus Workers of Kentucky (CWA Local 3365) and the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (KyPolicy) released their report, When Higher Ed Is a Lower Priority: Kentucky Campus Workers Sound the Alarm, highlighting the precarious climate for Kentucky higher education workers and the resulting consequences for the education system. This includes rising tuition costs as universities squeeze students to make up funding gaps and compromises to the quality of education that overtaxed instructors can offer. Expanding class sizes and an increasing shift towards online schooling make learning more difficult for students, while many workers at Kentucky’s universities and colleges struggle to make ends meet.

The report, which surveyed campus employees from Kentucky’s eight public universities and the state’s community college network, reveals stagnant pay, insufficient benefits, chronic understaffing, and cuts to tenure track positions as dire threats to workers' wellbeing on campuses. These hostile working conditions, due in large part to cuts from Kentucky’s General Assembly, threaten the quality of public higher education in the state as workers under duress struggle to meet administrative demands.

Ultimately, UCW-KY and KyPolicy identified support for campus worker unions as a critical component for improving the state of higher education and its associated working conditions. UCW-KY, a wall-to-wall union representing campus workers across the state, is one such union already fighting for higher education employees. With chapters at Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Murray State University, University of Kentucky, and University of Louisville, UCW-KY is advancing campus workers’ ability to enjoy job security, pay increases, and essential health benefits.


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