Guest speakers encourage Tech to ‘Take this Job and Love It’

A presentation titled “Take this Job and Love It” will take place from 3 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. Monday in Henderson Hall Room 205. The American Association of University Professors has invited two United Campus Worker organizers from Middle Tennessee State University to speak.

Karly Safar, United Campus Workers organizer at the University of Tennessee, will present a brief history of the UCW, a union of close to 1,200 employees in public higher education across the state of Tennessee. She will highlight some of the victories the union has won, discuss what difficulties it will face Summer 2011 when the stimulus funding runs out and speak about the unions campaign goals for the upcoming year.

“We first got started at UT-Knoxville 10 years ago when campus workers, students and community members organized to fight for a living wage, an hourly wage that allows one to live decently and take care of a family while working full-time,”Safar said.

The living wage is calculated based on the actual cost of living factors for a particular city. From this campaign, a union was formed and has since spread to other campuses across Tennessee. UCW ensures that workers are paid decent wages and are guaranteed basic rights and respect at work.

“A focus of our work over the past two years of the economic recession has been to fight for funding for higher education to prevent layoffs and severe budget cuts that would hurt not only students and employees but also the greater community and the state’s economy as a whole.” Safar said.

Rachel Kirk, MTSU UCW legislative committee chairperson, AAUP member and MTSU librarian, will be addressing why it is important to engage in the political process, UCW’s support for and endorsement of pro-worker and pro-education candidates running for state house and senate seats and its past fights and campaigns.

“We are inviting faculty, staff and students because the event addresses changes in higher education being made by the state legislature that increasingly affects us all with little consideration being given to us,” said Josephine McQuail, English professor and president of Tech’s AAUP chapter. “Basically, it is important for the campus community-all members of the campus community-to come together and develop a collective voice to have input in these decisions which affect us all. We need to be proactive, not reactive!”

AAUP’s purpose, according to its website (www.aaup.org), is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good.

“The AAUP is concerned particularly in today’s climate to preserve tenure,” McQuail said.

“Take This Job and Love It” is sponsored by the Tech AAUP chapter, the sociology department, the political science department and the journalism program.