Vanderbilt University employees fighting for raises and union representation

Laborers International Union of North America Local 386 Assistant Business Manager David Rutlege appeared on America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss a contract dispute happening at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Workers left behind at Vanderbilt

On Vanderbilt University’s campus, there are approximately 600 workers represented by the Laborers Union.

Although the university has been good to the workers in the past, the university decided to ask for an extension of the contract instead of giving a pay raise and a new contract. With a massive endowment, it came as a surprise that the school did not want to institute a pay raise.

It was later found that Vanderbilt was spending the endowment on bonds and stocks, almost operating as a hedge fund.

To add insult to injury, Rutledge said the school was planning to embark on a $100 million dollar recruitment campaign to find 60 new professors. He expressed confusion when trying to explain how the university could not afford a raise for janitors, food service workers, maintenance workers, groundskeepers and more.

Vanderbilt Campus Labor Coalition

At the end of the segment, Rutledge introduced the Vanderbilt Campus Labor Coalition. The group is made up of four organizations. One represents graduate students who work on campus as graduate assistants. Another represents tenured professors and the remaining two are Laborers Local 387 and Service Employees International Union Local 205.


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