KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Some of the lowest-paid workers at the University of Tennessee are meeting to discuss long-standing grievances, which they say had led to a 50% turnover rate. They say they've been subjected to verbal abuse, sexual harassment, retaliatory transfers, and unsafe working conditions.
"At a public institution, this kind of bully culture is completely unacceptable, and the record shows that management is making it unbearable," said Josh Smyser, a Building Service employee and UCW member.
The event, being held at the UTK University Center's Shiloh Room, was organized by United Campus Workers (UCW), the 1,400 member union staff and faculty in Tennessee's public higher education system.
"Our time is for sale, our pride is not," said Troy Grant, a Building Services employee and UCW member.
The union said turnover has remained high, despite university efforts to stabilize the workforce. It cited a UT document, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, that reportedly said 58 employees had been terminated or resigned.