By Staff –
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) service workers at the University of Rochester (UR) have approved two new union contracts covering approximately 1,800 employees who work on UR campuses and at UR medical center.
The new collective bargaining agreements have been back-dated to Sept. 17, and will continue for the next three years, the groups said.
The key economic features of the contracts are as follows:
– a 2% wage increase each year of the contract in September.
– a new, higher wage step for the most senior employees.
– continuation of the union sponsored health insurance plan at no cost to employees.
– improved dental benefits, long term disability coverage, and bereavement leave.
– increased support for child care.
– an additional paid holiday.
– a plan to participate in the UR Employee Wellness Program.
UR and the unions have also agreed to create additional programs for training and career advancement, including a health care apprenticeship program in the fields of central sterile technician, and patient care technician.
According to a press release, the organizations said they hope to create a new national model with the programs.
“This is a great contract,” Wendell Broadhurst, an environmental service working leader on UR’s River Campus, stated. “It keeps our benefits, recognizes years of service, and establishes new pathways to career advancement like the apprenticeship program.”
The contract ratification vote capped 19 sessions of collective bargaining between employee and management representatives which began in early August under the guidance of a federal mediator.
Staff who work on the UR campuses and at its Strong Memorial Hospital division are covered by two SEIU union contracts.
Employees involved in the talks included patient care technicians, nursing unit secretaries, environmental service and facilities employees, food service, transportation, and materials processing staff.
Service workers on UR Campuses are members of SEIU Local 200United, and those working in the Strong Memorial Hospital Division belong to 1199 SEIU United Health Workers East.
Both unions negotiated the contracts together with UR officials.