• University of Memphis president says minimum wage will be raised to $15 an hour in 2 years

    By: Kirstin Garriss

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - It’s been almost a week since University of Memphis President David Rudd posted this tweet, which read in part, “We have a definitive plan. We’ll be at $15/hour in 2 years. And in a sustainable manner.”

    This tweet comes after a funding feud with Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris over a swimming pool project earlier this week.

    RELATED: UofM accepting $1M grant in exchange for raising wages wouldn’t affect accreditation, official says

    But days later, faculty and members of the United Campus Workers union said they haven’t seen this plan. 


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    “I’d like to see a lot more clarity because that would give me the confidence that the people I work with – these are custodians that I consider I work with them, we work together – that they’re being treated fairly and given an honest assessment about when they’re going to get paid a fair wage,” said Dr. Antonio De Velasco, tenured professor at the University of Memphis.

    FOX13’s Kirstin Garriss called and emailed the university for an interview with Rudd, but they haven’t responded to our multiple interview requests. 

    Back in January, shortly after both the faculty senate and the staff senate passed resolutions supporting raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, Rudd said he supported the effort. 

    In this same email to faculty and staff, Rudd said wanted a sustainable financial model “that allows implementation of a significant minimum wage increase, one that does not result in unfair restrictions in the wages of other University employees, and one that does not require dramatic increases in student tuition and fees.”

    Rudd said he asked the CFO to start a study to create that model, but months later Velasco said they haven’t seen that study either.

    “I have appreciated very much how our president has talked about this issue and he has talked about it, but at the same time it seems to me we’ve been getting conflicting stories on this and there isn’t a consistent plan that anyone has been shown,” said Velasco. 

    Velasco said he wants Rudd to host a forum about this effort so the entire campus can weigh in on the process. 

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