Courtesy of Dawn Marshall-Hozier

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and UR approved a new contract, after months of negotiations and protests, on Thursday, Nov. 29. Although another discussion about wages will take place next September, agreements on health benefits stipulated in the contract will last until Sept. 20, 2014.

The new contract includes a 1.5 percent wage increase. UR will continue paying the entirety of union members’ premiums with the National Benefit Fund for the two years of the contract. UR has also increased its contributions to both the Training and Upgrading Fund and Child Care Fund by 50 percent. Union members will pay slightly more for x-rays and specialist visits.

The result of this contract is equivalent to a $0.78 hourly increase in pay  —  6.25 percent increase in cost for UR.

“I think in the end this is a win for everybody,” University spokesperson on the negotiations Teri D’Agostino said. “The University really wanted to maintain fairness between union and non-union employees. In the end we feel we reached an agreement that allowed us to do that.”

According to SEIU spokesman Bruce Popper, the community played a “decisive” role in reaching an agreement.

Anthony McCullough, a food service worker in Danforth Dining Center, agreed.

“I was really thrilled with how the community, students and staff came together in support of us,” he said.

Dawn Marshall-Hosier, who has worked as a food service worker in Danforth Dining Center for 18 years, expressed optimism about future negotiations. “I’m hoping that even though we’re going back to the bargaining table in less than a year, we’ll get justice, fairness and respect,” she said. “We have always bargained in good faith.”

Remus is a member of the class of 2016.

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