Contracts for service union employees expired Saturday as negotiations between the university and local chapters of the Service Employees International Union continue.

The groups have not agreed on a contract extension, as the university wanted to extend the contracts for a month, while the unions were willing to extend current contracts for only two weeks.

About 200 River Campus service workers are members of SEIU Local 200United, primarily personnel in food and building service positions. The Medical Center and Strong Memorial Hospital have about 1,000 employees belonging to SEIU Local 1199 in patient care, surgical support, patient transport, supply and distribution, housekeeping, and other service positions.

“Talks will continue as long as they are productive,” SEIU Local 1199 Vice-President Bruce Popper said. “The workers are taking a picket or strike vote next Tuesday, Oct 11. A Federal mediator may join the talks.” Popper serves as chief negotiator for both SEIU Local 200United and SEIU Local 1199.

Continuing, Popper said, “[Our goals are] to preserve the workers’ family health insurance benefits, to stop UR from reducing the wages of future workers in these jobs [and] modest wage increases,” Popper said.

Representatives from UR Human Resources declined to comment at this time. UR’s negotiating team is led by Associate Vice President for Human Resources Charles Murphy and composed of a committee of department-level managers.

Further negotiations took place on Monday and Tuesday. Talks will resume Thursday morning at the Medical Center, and are expected to continue on Friday.

“There is no reason why New York’s most profitable hospital and the region’s largest employer cannot continue to provide health and income security to its lowest paid hourly employees,” Popper said.

Senate moves $10,000 to supplemental equipment fund

The Students’ Association’s Senate appropriated the surplus funds from last year at its weekly meeting on Monday.

From last year’s budget, $25,000 remained. On Monday, the senate approved a transfer of $10,000 of that surplus to the SA equipment supplemental fund. The fund is available to student groups for items not accounted for in their initial budgets.

The remaining $15,000 of the budget was moved into the reserve fund.

This weeks’ meeting was shortened due to absences for religious holidays.

Exactly two-thirds of the senate was present, just enough to vote on a decision. The vote passed unanimously.

The senate is also working on creating a committee to examine the campus’s general atmosphere outside of academics.

SA Vice President and senior Katherine DelBalso is heading the efforts of The Committee on Examining and Evaluating Student Engagements, Opportunities and Social Atmosphere.

This would be the first student generated assessment of the social opportunities and atmosphere on campus.

“In the last several years, there have been several significant and positive developments within the Students’ Association, such as internal restructuring of the cabinet and senate committees and the recent ratification of a new SA constitution and bylaws,” SA President and senior Matt Goldblatt said. “Now I feel the next step for student government is to go more external by affecting the campus as a whole and this new committee and its findings is a perfect example of us heading in that direction.”

Reporting by Andrew Bruml.

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