Labor Union and University Reach Agreement, Strike Averted | kaitlinablogFebruary 7, 2019 2:51 am
Boston University workers will not go on strike after union leaders reached an agreement with the school over a new contract on Thursday night. Had the agreement not been met, over 700 workers including custodians, groundskeepers and mailroom employees may have gone on strike.
Negotiations focused on two main demands: a raise in cost-of-living wages and a freeze in their healthcare contributions. The tentative agreement, which will be ratified on Monday, provides for a 10 percent raise over four years and affordable healthcare benefits.
“We are proud to say that the hardworking men and women who make BU strong have a strong contract on the table,” said Roxana Rivera, the district director of 32BJ SEIU, the union representing BU workers, in a statement. “In a city that is becoming increasingly unequal, this contract will keep 700 workers strongly in the middle class.”
BU workers already make more money than people doing similar jobs at other area universities such as Harvard, MIT and Boston College, according to BU Today. However, Eugenio Villasante, the union’s spokesperson, said that because BU is doing so well financially, workers would not settle for anything that wouldn’t allow them to cope with the cost of living in Boston.
“Working people depend on good jobs to provide for their families, to pay mortgages and to send their kids to college,” Villasante said. “Workers felt that they needed to take a stand and show they were willing to go as far as a possible strike.”
Villasante also added that in Boston, the gap between the rich and poor is especially increasing and middle class families are finding it harder to live in the city.
In a press release, 32BJ said that under this new contract, which will last for four years, workers will “be better able to provide for themselves and their families and put money back into their local communities.”
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