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May 14, 2015

Pitt, SEIU sign 3-year pact

The University and its approximately 400 custodians, mechanics, groundskeepers and maintenance workers have reached a new three-year agreement that will increase wages and hold the line on health care premiums.

The workers, represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ, ratified the new contract May 5.

They had been working under extensions to their previous contract , which expired in December. Terms of the new agreement are retroactive to January.

“We are pleased that we have reached a fair agreement,” Ken Service, vice chancellor for communications, told the University Times.

The workers will see hourly wage increases of $1.20 over three years, plus a $200 bonus in each of the first two years, according to SEIU spokesperson Traci Benjamin. The contract calls for no increase in health care premiums in the initial year of the contract, with an option to negotiate further should premiums increase by more than 5 percent in the second and third years, she said.

Sam Williamson, western Pennsylvania area leader for 32BJ SEIU, said in a statement: “This agreement is a testament to the contributions these workers make to this University. The whole Pitt community supported them through this fight, and we deeply appreciate that solidarity. We know that good jobs lift men and women out of poverty and better our communities, and we’re glad to have taken a step forward in making Pittsburgh the world-class city we all want it to become.”

—Kimberly K. Barlow