MEMPHIS, Tenn. - University of Memphis President David Rudd is getting a new contract and a big raise.
The Board of Trustees approved a nearly $100,000 raise for Rudd, along with thousands in retention incentive payments. Rudd's new contract starts on October 1, but there are still hundreds of employees who aren't making a living wage of $15 an hour.
We've been told many of these employees are custodians that are African American women who work multiple jobs to make ends meet.
The minimum pay for full-time employees is $11.11 per hour at the University of Memphis. Rudd said he planned on getting it to $15 an hour earlier this summer, so we filed an open record request to get a copy of that plan.
The university told FOX13 that plan doesn't exist.
U of M specifically told us "the university does not have any documents responsive to your request."
However, that response contradicts what Rudd tweeted two months ago on July 8, saying, "We have a definitive plan. We'll be at $15/hour in 2 years. And in a sustainable manner."
How does our min. wage compare to our former TBR peers?— Dr. M. David Rudd (@UofMemphisPres) July 9, 2019
We have a definitive plan. We'll be at $15/hour in 2 years. And in a sustainable manner.
We called and texted the Director of Marketing for the University of Memphis about the plan, but our messages haven't been returned.
Jayanni Webster from the United Campus Workers told FOX13, "I'm not surprised because we know they haven't put in a good faith effort forward to try to address the low wages on campus."
Webster said the union has been fighting for 7 and a half years. She said custodians are upset and they feel forgotten because the Board of Trustees just approved a new three-year contract for President Rudd with a base salary of $525,000 a year and thousands in allowances for housing, his car, and a cell phone.
Rudd will also receive an annual $125,000 retention incentive payment.
Webster explained how the president's base salary made her feel. "Going through my mind was the faces of the men and women who work on that campus and who have been asking their president for a living wage, a wage that will help them keep up with the cost of living, that wouldn't leave them struggling from day to day."
Webster said Rudd still has a chance to turn this around.
"No one thinks poorly of President Rudd. Many people find him likable and respect him a great deal. They believe he has the opportunity to do what's right."
The union said they're confused why the Board of Trustees would pay an outside consulting firm to conduct a compensation study for Rudd's salary, but they haven't done the same for all university employees.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.