At the end of a long and tough bargaining process, UE Local 267 members at the University of Vermont have negotiated and ratified a new three year contract with significant pay raises.
From the time negotiations started in March until early October, the University insisted it would not give a wage increase of more than 2%. But the agreement provides wage increases of 4% a year, paid on July 1 each year, with the 2006 increase retroactive to July 1. The local also negotiated new minimum rates, with additional raises (immediate and retroactive to July 1) for workers whose pay was below the new minimums. This meant that 150 workers got more than 4% in raises. There were also additional pay increases for some workers in skilled trades, and increases each year in shift differentials.
Local 267 has been part of a Liveable Wage campaign to significantly raise the pay of the lowest paid campus workers. In April, students activists in the UVM Student Labor Action Project (SLAP) set up a Tent City on the campus green to draw attention to the need for the University to pay liveable wages to all its workers. Local 267 feels that the student support helped win a better contract for UE members, and the Local continues to support SLAP as it fights to achieve livable wages for underpaid unorganized university and subcontract workers on campus.
Under the new contract, UE members will be under the same health insurance as other UVM employees. This will mean lower employee contributions than under the old plan, but possibly higher out of pocket costs. New hires will now be covered from their first day of employment, and for the lowest paid employees, payroll contributions were cut in half.
The number of vacation days was increased for workers with between 10 and 25 years service. The retirement plan was improved so that employees making less than $12 an hour will receive the University’s 10% contribution even if the employee can’t afford the 2% employee contribution.
The probationary period was shortened for temporary workers who serve more than one year.
Local 267 represents 330 workers Service and Maintenance workers at UVM. These include custodial, skilled trades, transportation and parking, print and mail, athletics, and bookstore employees,
The negotiating committee consisted of President Carmyn Stanko, Chief Steward Jeff Burnham, Vice Pres. Lester Gockley, Rec. Sec. Greg Godbout, Tom Stout, Gary Silva, Kathy
Miles. Alternates were Tim Maple, David Hamilton, Sr, and Sharon Cianci, and the committee was assisted by Field Org. Heather Riemer.
The successful contract settlement of Local 267 with UVM was one of the topics of the November 3 e-mail update from National Jobs With Justice. The story is also currently featured on the JWJ website, www.jwj.org/news/updates/2006/10.html.