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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

AZ University Workers Ask for Better Pay, Working Conditions

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Monday, January 2, 2023   

Unionized workers at The University of Arizona and Arizona State University are calling for the schools to pay all campus workers $25 an hour by 2025, and for working conditions they see as more fair to contingent faculty.

Nataly Reed, a senior lecturer at the University of Arizona, described United Campus Workers of Arizona as a "wall-to-wall union" - representing faculty members, as well as students and staff who are employees.

Reed said the petition for higher pay could affect about half of the workers at both universities. She said rising inflation, fees and the cost of living have made it difficult for folks who are the backbone of these schools to stay afloat and survive.

"Employees deserve a thriving wage," said Reed. "It's not just keeping us happy. It's a question of, 'Can I live in the town where I work?' It is that fundamental."

Reed said decisions made by the universities during the pandemic ended up mobilizing the worker's calls for change.

The universities have said they value their employees and have made adjustments to increase compensation as well as offer more multi-year contracts to those who are eligible.

In addition to the call for better wages, contingent faculty members like Reed are also seeking better job security.

The United Campus Workers of Arizona group says contingent faculty make up the majority of all faculty appointments at both schools. Reed said that means being hired on short-term contracts with no guarantee of renewal.

"There is a lot of precarity in these teaching positions," said Reed, "and that, of course, influences students' learning, so that students can't really count on having instructors teaching particular courses. There's just a lot of uncertainty."

The union members want more job stability in the form of multi-year contracts, as well as paths to promotion.

UCW Arizona is collecting signatures before presenting the petitions to each university's respective president and the Arizona Board of Regents.




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