Local 248 President Carl Olsen reports on his local's new contract at the Northeast Region Council meeting in November.
Local 248’s new three-year contract for cafeteria workers and custodians at the Old Rochester Regional High School was a textbook case of an informed and involved membership successfully resisting management concessions. Over half of the members came to observe negotiations and would sit at the conference table and participate in the bargaining, demonstrating to management their support for the negotiating committee.
The employer come into negotiations wanting significant health insurance takeaways. Within the broader school district, Local 248 and the teachers’ union at ORR have held the line on a 30/70 cost share, while at every other school workers pay 50 percent of their insurance premiums. Naturally, the employer wanted UE members to lower their benefits to this “standard.”
Despite this demand, Local 248 was able to maintain their current cost-share. Although they did take a small concession changing their zero-deductible plan to a plan with a small deductible, the deductible costs are fully paid by an employer-funded Health Savings Account.
The wage increases in the three-year agreement are two percent, 2.5 percent and three percent, and the union also won some small improvements to uniform allowances and to the annual bonus based on years of service.
The Local 248 negotiating committee consisted of President Carl Olsen, Lynn Fernald, Alex Eccleston, and Richard Robert. They were assisted by Field Organizer Zachary Knipe.