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USC Workers to Call for Living Wages at Speak-Out on 10/26

Columbia, SC - The United Campus Workers union of South Carolina (UCW-CWA 3765) will hold a speak-out at the Russell House Patio on Thursday, October 26 at 11:30am. Staff, faculty, and student workers will join together to call on President Amiridis to raise wages for workers across the University of South Carolina.

In recent years, unionized workers fought for and won $15/hour wages for full time staff at USC, but inflation and rising cost of living has left workers still struggling to make ends meet. “We’ve come too far to turn back now,” said Ben Brown, a groundskeeper and union member at USC. 

Workers are organizing to win the demands of their new living wage campaign, which are listed in a petition launched earlier in August. These demands include a minimum wage of $20/hour for all hourly workers, a minimum of $40,000/year for salaried workers, and a minimum annual stipend of $20,000/year for graduate workers. Workers are also calling for increases to reflect the rising cost of living, increases based on years of service, and living wages for contract workers. 

USC prides itself on excellence and integrity. However, the state’s flagship institution does not currently pay workers living wages that reflect their contributions and dedication to our community. Of approximately 9,900 full-time employees at USC, nearly 1,000 currently make less than $20 an hour. Notably, this does not include contract (food service, custodial, grounds and maintenance, etc.) and graduate workers, who make some of the lowest wages on campus.

According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, the cost of living in Columbia, SC has increased 33% in just four years. This extreme increase in the cost of living has not been reflected in workers’ paychecks. In 1963, Rev. Dr. MLK Jr. called for a $2 minimum wage. This would be $20 today, adjusted for inflation. We echo this call for economic and racial justice for all.

“All campus workers need and deserve a living wage,” said Jaimee Wishon, a Graduate Teaching Assistant and Chair of United Campus Workers at USC, “but we will only get what we are organized to take."

The speak-out will be held on the patio of the Russell House on the stage across from the Center for Health and Well-Being (1409 Devine St, Columbia, SC 29208).



United Campus Workers - Communications Workers of America Local 3765 is South Carolina's higher education union. UCW organizes for economic justice and democracy on campus and across South Carolina. More information at