University of Tennessee

Memphis, TN

Layoff Date:

April 15, 2021

Laid Off Employees:

Laid Off Percent:

Source: Business Insider
On his 20th anniversary of working at University of Tennessee Health Science Center, electrician Tony Patton was called in to a meeting. That's when he found out that he was one of 70 frontline facilities workers being laid off. Patton had heard whispers about layoffs about a week before. Carpenter Michael Garrett said he had heard about potential layoffs the Monday before they came — but administrators said they were just rumors. Then on March 12, workers were brought into a room and given letters that told them to turn in their keys, badges, and anything else pertaining to the university, as Laura Testino at the Memphis Commercial Appeal first reported. They were told that their positions were eliminated. But Patton fought back with the help of his union, Communications Workers of America. The UTHSC's union push is part of a broader trend towards revitalized labor organizing across the country. After decades of diminished union power increased income inequality, essential workers in hospitals and warehouses have been fighting for their safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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