After 24 years of work as a custodian at UTC, Sonya Davis says she's worried about losing her job if Gov. Bill Haslam proceeds with a plan to outsource building management and operations at public colleges, state parks, prisons and hospitals.
"I wanted you to know: We're not just custodians," Davis said Tuesday as she described bonding with students and faculty alike, even offering a friendly shoulder and advice to stressed-out undergraduates. "We contribute to the students, the faculty. We're not just here to clean up."
Her comments came as she and other University of Tennessee at Chattanooga workers, ranging from maintenance workers to facilities management engineers, described their commitment both to their jobs and the campus community during a fact-finding session hosted at the university by three Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga.
About 60 UTC workers, students, community supporters and United Campus Workers officials showed up for the session, the second campus stop of a statewide tour by Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis, and Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville.
"In some respects, the administration has rushed to judgment," Harris said.
"We just keep hearing about a solution to a problem that doesn't exist," Favors added.