UF raises minimum pay, but NOT because of protests
November/December 2000

Well, isn't that special. UF president Charles Young has been concerned all this time with the low wages of UF employees and now, spontaneously, UF administrators have studied the problem and come to the conclusion they need to raise their lowest-paid workers (see memo below).

UF wants us to know that this is NOT because UF's lowest-paid employees, the UF staff union, and many community and student organizations including the NAACP, other unions, Student Peace Action and the Labor Party rallied and campaigned for the last 4 months for the rights of custodial workers to not be forced onto midnight shift, calling attention again and again to their ludicrously low pay.

It's NOT that the University is reeling from charges of systematic racism were levelled at the law school by many, including professor and former dean Ken Nunn who resigned his deanship in protest.

It's NOT because protesters packed the meetings of UF's night shift committee with a petition that ringed the wall and four demands: End Night Shift; Living Wage for Custodial Workers; Fair Building Assignments; and An End to Harassment by Supervisors.

And it's NOT that UF administrators are getting a tinch nervous about the strong solidarity shown between UF's staff union (AFSCME 3340), the Graduate Assistants United, the faculty union, student groups and community groups, most powerfully the NAACP.

UF is notorious for its "spontaneous" interest in justice immediately following a big protest compaign. They follow the cardinal rule of the power structure: "Don't let people know their actions count--if you do, they'll be encouraged to take more action, and we can't have that."

The pay increase follows on the heels of a victory for UF's custodial staff over the night shift. UF backed down from the night shift after its committee voted overwhelmingly to abolish it.

DATE: November 9, 2000

TO: Deans, Directors and Department Chairs

FROM: Gail F. Baker, Vice President, Office of the Vice President for Public Relations, University of Florida

SUBJECT: University of Florida Announces Living Wage Program

University of Florida President Charles E. Young today announced a program to increase the minimum pay for entry-level employees. Effective Dec. 1, the minimum pay for all employees will be raised to $7 per hour, a 12 percent increase over the current minimum of $6.23 per hour. On June 1, 2001, the pay will increase to a minimum of $7.50 per hour and in December of 2001, to $8 per hour.

"Since arriving on campus I have been concerned over what I believe to be pay deficiencies among the university's lowest wage earners. After much review, and with the complete support of my colleagues in the administration, I have decided that the current wage scale is inadequate in meeting the needs of these valuable employees. As a result of that study we are implementing this program to insure that every employee of the University of Florida is receiving a livable wage," Young said.

Currently, about 140 employees will be affected by the December increase. Individuals benefiting from the increase work in all areas of campus. In addition to improving wages, the program is expected to help the area's largest employer recruit and retain a productive workforce.

Resources will be reallocated to fund these pay increases, which will cost the university approximately $150,000 annually. Affected employees will see the increases begin in their checks of Dec. 15.

"This is the right thing for the University of Florida to do, and the right time for us to do it," Young said.

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