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JSU Chapter

UCW-JSU Wages Campaign

United Campus Workers - JSU, Communication Workers of America
Press Release

Subject: Jacksonville State University Employees Call for Fair Wages
Jacksonville, Alabama - January 25, 2024

The JSU chapter of the United Campus Workers, which went public in Fall 2023, sent a letter this week calling on
President Killingsworth and university leadership to address long-standing wage inequality at Jax State by raising
the minimum wage for hourly employees.

UCW-JSU is calling for a phased increase to $15 per hour by the end of 2024 and $17 per hour by 2025.

The letter is the first step in a broader campaign by UCW-JSU to get the university to increase pay for hourly
workers. Prior to the start of the campaign, multiple requests by union leaders to sit down with President
Killingsworth to discuss the newly established union on campus went unanswered.

Hourly employees at Jax State play a crucial role in the university's day-to-day operations. Despite their integral
role, many employees, including custodial and maintenance staff, student workers, and administrative
assistants, are not adequately compensated for their efforts. As part of their launch, UCW-JSU surveyed
employees about their work experiences at Jax State. Survey participants across all employee classifications
identified low wages as their number one concern. The university advertises full-time housekeeping staff
positions with a starting wage of $9.09 per hour. Hourly wages for many undergraduate and graduate student
workers are set at $8.25. This stands in stark contrast to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, which indicates that a
living wage for each working-age adult in a family of four in Calhoun County, Alabama, is just over $21 per hour.

Other universities in Alabama have recognized wage inequality on their campuses and worked to address it. In
2021, Auburn University doubled minimum hourly wages for campus employees to $14.50. Earlier this year,
Auburn increased the minimum hiring rate to $15 per hour. The University of Alabama raised minimum hourly
wages to $15 in 2022-23. Local school districts have begun to address the issue of wages, too. Support staff at
Jacksonville City Schools earn at least $15 per hour, and this past fall, the Calhoun County School System
announced that hourly wages would increase to $15.

Equitable wages are overdue at Jax State. Offering hourly employees a living wage will not only help meet their
basic needs, it will also benefit the university, its students, and the surrounding region. In doing so, the
university would demonstrate its commitment to supporting the hardworking, dedicated employees who make
up the Jax State family–who make it the “Friendliest Campus in the South.”

“$15 we survive, $17 we thrive” is the slogan UCW-JSU has adopted for the present campaign.

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