After approximately 16 months of contract rejections, strike authorizations, community rallies, contract extensions, and negotiations, unionized facilities workers and the College have reached a new three year contract.
In a negotiation that lasted five to six hours, the Local 200 Service Employee International Union (SEIU), which represents the workers, and the College reached an agreement that includes the preservation of the employees’ eight percent pension match and two years of wage increases. The union’s ratification vote passed 25–22 on Sept. 4.
“We talked about it with the Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee and we said we’ve got challenges in our operating budget but we think we should put something on the table here and see if we can get a deal,” President John J. Hurley said in an interview.
The college and the SEIU had been in negotiations all summer, but after a strike vote near the start of classes, President Hurley says both groups decided to come back to the table for the day that created that final contract. President Hurley says the strike vote was unexpected by the college.
“To be fair to them, we had been talking about a contract extension that wouldn’t have given them much, and they just didn’t want to do that. They wanted something,” President Hurley said.
President Hurley credited the SEIU members who sat at the negotiation table as the reason the negotiations took one day.
The unionized facilities workers are the only employee group on campus that has maintained an eight percent pension match to a two percent contribution since the Board of Trustees announced all employees would see a cut to a four percent to a two percent contribution in June 2017. All other employees and faculty have seen a one percent increase over a year, and now have a five percent to two percent match.
The facilities workers will also see wage increases in years one and two of their three year contract.