In 2014, Brown University, a private research university located in Providence, Rhode Island, enrolled nearly 9,000 students and employed over 1,500 workers, more than a hundred of whom worked in the school’s libraries. The United Service and Allied Workers of Rhode Island (USAW-RI) is the workers union that represented nearly half of these library workers in addition to the school’s dining employees, parking officers, service responders, and mailroom drivers.
On 30 June 1998, the contract between Service Employees International Union Local 200A (SEIU) and Syracuse University (SU) expired. Preceded by two months of negotiation, SU made a final offer for a new contract before the 30 June deadline.
A 2002 study found that 68% of the 2,100 hourly Tennessee public higher education employees were being paid less than a living wage of $9.50 per hour with benefits. Earning less than a living wage could force an employee to rely on public subsidies for food, healthcare, or housing. Inspired by this and similar statistics, United Campus Workers (UCW), which recently merged with the Communication Workers Association, launched its “UT Workers Need a Raise” campaign in October 2004, with the goal of a $1,200 across-the-board pay raise for all University of Tennessee employees.