Wednesday, August 23, 2006

the contract we fought for has been ratified!

Today at lunchtime, a joyous final chapter was written to the yearlong struggle for a union contract by the UNICCO workers at UM. President of the SEUI Local 11 Rob Schuler explained to a packed Episcopal Church the details of the contract hammered out by UNICCO, the union and the bargaining team of workers. In brief, these are the highlights:

Wages: $0.25 per hour raise on Sep 1, 2006
$0.40 Sep 1, 2007
$0.50 Sep 1, 2008
$0.50 Sep 1, 2009

Health Insurance: any increases in the premium up to 10% to be absorbed by UNICCO. Increases beyond that will trigger a committee to investigate further ways of reducing costs

Personal Days: Increase from 2 to 3 paid personal days

Vacations: 1 year - 1 week
5 years - 2 weeks
10 years - 3 weeks

Holidays: Three extra paid holidays: Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and the day after Thanksgiving

Funeral Leave: 3 paid days

Seniority: Workers with more years get more benefits

Safety: A committee of workers and management will meet every month to address any safety issues

Union Rights: The union will have the right to post materials, to speak to new hires and to investigate abuses on job time

Immigration: Workers will be allowed time off to deal with immigration issues

Job Security: Basic structures will be put in place to deal with harassment, favoritism and improper dismissal

The workers voted to ratify the contract with great enthusiasm. The energy was amazing and the workers certainly felt they had scored a great victory. As one of them, Julio Ramos, said before the vote, hopefully their job would become one that can lead them out of poverty instead of keeping them in it.

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