Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas State Employees Union calls on UT to raise University workers’ pay by $10,000 across-the-board

Emma George

University workers called for a $10,000 raise for all full-time campus workers, and a proportional raise for part-time employees, at a rally outside the Tower on March 20.

The workers are members of the Texas State Employees Union, an organization for state employees that advocates for fair pay. Anne Lewis, an executive board member of the Union, said its demand for higher pay is mainly based on the introduced version of House Bill 202, which proposed a $10,000 across-the-board pay raise for certain state employees, including employees of higher education institutions.

Legislators introduced the bill in November 2022, including university workers for the first time since 2003, Lewis said. The bill did not go into action. However, state workers, excluding university workers, received a $6,000 raise over the biennium. 

“University workers were left out of that pay raise and the pay raise for all of us wasn’t what we hoped,” Lewis said. “But the fact that there was a bill there that demanded something that was real was really important to us.”

Lewis said many UT workers have unlivable wages because of Austin’s rising cost of living. The University’s minimum wage for full-time employees is $15 per hour. This does not include student workers, whose minimum wage is $10.35. The city of Austin’s living wage is $20.80 per hour, according to the city of Austin’s compensation division. Lewis said the union conducted a financial analysis of the University that found the University could afford the pay raise.

“I feel as though a lot of workers are invisible,” Lewis said. “We have somewhere around 15,000 workers here and there’s this lack of awareness that (they’re) really what makes this University run — that these people are very essential to the functioning of this university.”

Union members delivered thousands of signatures to President Jay Hartzell’s office after the rally. Lewis said the Union has yet to hear back, but its next step is to ask for a meeting with the president to discuss the Union’s concerns.

Union member Carissa Ceasor said the Union is focused on ensuring workers are fairly compensated and supporting them amid the city’s rising living costs.“We want people to be able to learn well,” Ceasor said. “We don’t want students to come to class hungry. We want the professors to actually be able to dedicate their time to their research and not have to worry about budget issues. It is a quality of life question more than anything and when we boil it down, it comes down to pay.”

The University declined to comment.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story conflated faculty with full-time employees in the fifth paragraph. The Texan regrets this error.

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About the Contributors
Naina Srivastava, Senior News Reporter & Senior Photographer
Naina is a freshman journalism major from Mountain View, California. She is currently a senior news reporter and senior photographer at the Texan.
Emma George, Comics Editor
Emma is currently a Spring 2023 Comics Editor. She is a junior civil engineering major whoe loves to draw, read, and visiting art museums. She has previously been a Comics sStaffer and Comics Senior Illustrator.