University of Texas System: Protect Our Community During COVID-19 Pandemic

University of Texas System Board of Regents

To the University of Texas System Board of Regents,

The Texas State Employees Union (CWA Local 6186) is a rank-and-file union representing all state employees, including university workers. TSEU fights for economic, racial, and environmental justice in our communities and workplaces. Texas’s public universities are the largest employers of state workers and need to lead the way in protecting our workforce and those who we serve during the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect all state workers, and particularly the most vulnerable—low-wage and frontline workers, people of color, the uninsured—we demand that the University of Texas system Board of Regents:


  • Move all face-to-face classes with more than 10 people to remote learning until there is a downward trajectory (or near-zero incidence) of documented cases over a 14-day period

  • End furloughs and layoffs for the duration of the pandemic

  • Immediately issue hazard pay of $500/month for every essential worker

  • Flexibility and continuation of status of international and DACA students and student-workers throughout this crisis. No deportations due to change to on-line classes and expedited travel visas to and from home country.

  • Immediately end contracting out vital services (dining, maintenance, landscaping, custodial, IT, construction) to private companies

  • Provide free and frequent testing and high-quality PPE for all workers

  • Provide free healthcare from each campus's respective healthcare provider for anybody affiliated with a school within the University of Texas system, including current contract workers on campuses

  • Issue iPads/laptops and wi-fi hotspots for any student, staff, or faculty without the technology needed to continue their work remotely

  • Begin transparent and frequent reporting of cases on and around campus

  • Lower class sizes and hire additional TAs and instructors to preserve quality of education throughout pandemic

  • Lower tuition 10% for duration of pandemic to support students and families

  • Create board of staff, faculty, and students to divert unused resources to desperately needed community services for public good

  • Demand increased state funding from Legislature to cover additional needs


Public health experts widely agree that there is no safe way to re-open campuses this fall. University campuses and campus life inherently foster close contact, face-to-face interaction, and large crowds. There is no acceptable number of positive cases and deaths from COVID-19. The long-term damage of an early reopening will mean fewer and more precarious jobs, less accessibility to higher education for marginalized students, and vulnerability to privatization, not to mention prolonging an already deadly and rapidly-progressing pandemic.

With the University system’s vast resources—a sizable endowment, people-power, and campuses rooted in our communities—we can support all of our students and employees and make our institution stronger,safer, and more just.


Petition by
Solomon Weiner
Austin, Texas

To: University of Texas System Board of Regents
From: [Your Name]

To the University of Texas Board of Regents,

The Texas State Employees Union (CWA Local 6186) is a rank-and-file union representing all state employees, including university workers. TSEU fights for economic, racial, and environmental justice in our communities and workplaces. Texas’s public universities are the largest employers of state workers and need to lead the way in protecting our workforce and those who we serve during the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect all state workers, and particularly the most vulnerable—low-wage and frontline workers, people of color, the uninsured—we demand that the University of Texas system Board of Regents:

-Move all face-to-face classes with more than 10 people to remote learning until there is a downward trajectory (or near-zero incidence) of documented cases over a 14-day period

-End furloughs and layoffs for the duration of the pandemic

-Immediately issue hazard pay of $500/month for every essential worker

-Flexibility and continuation of status of international and DACA students and student-workers throughout this crisis. No deportations due to change to on-line classes and expedited travel visas to and from home country.

-Immediately end contracting out vital services (dining, maintenance, landscaping, custodial, IT, construction) to private companies

-Provide free and frequent testing and high-quality PPE for all workers

-Provide free healthcare from each campus's respective healthcare provider for anybody affiliated with a school within the University of Texas system, including current contract workers on campuses

-Issue iPads/laptops and wi-fi hotspots for any student, staff, or faculty without the technology needed to continue their work remotely

-Begin transparent and frequent reporting of cases on and around campus

-Lower class sizes and hire additional TAs and instructors to preserve quality of education throughout pandemic

-Lower tuition 10% for duration of pandemic to support students and families

-Create board of staff, faculty, and students to divert unused resources to desperately needed community services for public good

-Demand increased state funding from Legislature to cover additional needs

Public health experts widely agree that there is no safe way to re-open campuses this fall. University campuses and campus life inherently foster close contact, face-to-face interaction, and large crowds. There is no acceptable number of positive cases and deaths from COVID-19. The long-term damage of an early reopening will mean fewer and more precarious jobs, less accessibility to higher education for marginalized students, and vulnerability to privatization, not to mention prolonging an already deadly and rapidly-progressing pandemic.

With the University system’s vast resources—a sizable endowment, people-power, and campuses rooted in our communities—we can support all of our students and employees and make our institution stronger,safer, and more just.