UT's campus workers were seen, but not heard.
That is, until the university enacted a raise of the base pay of campus workers from $8.50 an hour to $9 on Jan. 1.
After a 13-year campaign led by United Campus Workers, paychecks now meet the university's standards for adequacy.
On Dec. 3, 2013, the university announced base pay will be further raised to $9.50 an hour for all full- and part-time regular employees by June 2014.
While UCW Union President Tom Anderson commends the university's actions, he maintains the necessity of further reforms.
"We're glad they've listened to us," Anderson said. "The truth of the matter is that $9.50 ... is a good step, but there's still ground to cover."
The wage adjustment was calculated based on the study conducted by UT's Faculty Senate in 2000, which identified $9.50 per hour, plus benefits, as the minimum wage a regular employee required to make ends meet.
Karly Safar, a member of UCW and a UT administrative support assistant, said she believes the increase validates UCW's efforts to eradicate poverty wages on campus.
"There's a long way to go to get everyone more than a check or two ahead of disaster," Safar said. "Today, (campus workers) can be satisfied that their efforts are beginning to pay off."
However, the pay increase remains beneath the living wage recommended by the UT Faculty Senate Living Wage Study in 2010, which pegged the most serviceable living wages for workers at a standard of $12.02 per hour, plus benefits.
The study reported that a full-time campus employee should earn a wage that pays for the basic needs of a family living in modern America without resorting to needs-tested public benefits, crime or private charity.
Students, too, aided UCW in their pursuit of living wages. Brandon Cartagena, liaison for the Progressive Student Alliance, an advocacy organization, recalls the injustice which previously isolated workers from students.
"There shouldn't be this segregation - students on one side and workers on the other," Cartagena, a sophomore in Spanish, said. "A learning environment where people are segregated is not a real learning environment."
Robert Naylor, junior in global studies and Progressive Student Alliance co-chair, said income security would enable campus workers to quit second jobs, provide better care for their families, and allow flexibility to invest time in the community.
"The living wage campaign is not over," Naylor said. "Its really just started. Even though this raise was really wonderful, there's a lot of work to be done."