University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Living Wage Campaign

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Dear Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz, President Donald Bobbitt, and the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees:

AFSCME Local 965 and the undersigned petitioners ask that you use the authority granted you by Amendment 33 of the constitution of the State of Arkansas to take immediate steps to ensure that:

1)       All University of Arkansas at Fayetteville employees, including students, are paid a living wage ($30,000 per year or $14.42/hour).

2)       All University of Arkansas at Fayetteville graduate teaching and research assistants (50% appointments) are paid at least $15,000 per year.

3)       All University of Arkansas at Fayetteville subcontractors pay their employees at least $14.42/hour.

The Local 965 and undersigned petitioners believe these increases in wages will help correct the longstanding, unjustifiable inequities among University employees and alleviate near-poverty conditions among a staff that is essential to the functioning of the flagship of the University of Arkansas system. These overdue pay raises will reduce dependency on SNAP benefits, ARKids, and Medicaid, thereby freeing working people of reliance on state programs.

A living wage benefits the University by boosting employee morale and decreasing turnover. Most importantly, paying a living wage is a moral imperative for a university whose mission is to advance the welfare and prosperity of the state.

To prevent living wages from increasing the tuition burden for Arkansas students,  Local 965 and the undersigned petitioners ask that the university fund these raises through existing revenues, namely a moratorium on salary increases for administrators already earning more than $100,000 annually until these goals are met.