Service workers, Pitt strike deal

By Dale Shoemaker / News Editor

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After more than five months without a contract, service workers reached an agreement Tuesday with the University and their workers’ union.

The new contract includes wage increases and improved training. The previous contract expired in December and lacked both of these amenities, a release from Local 32BJ, a branch of the Service Employees International Union, said. Contract negotiations went up until Tuesday afternoon.

The contract takes effect as of January, meaning workers will receive back pay, and is active for the next three years, the release said. About 400 Pitt workers will use this contract. 

Service workers will receive wage increases of $1.20 per hour over the course of the contract and a $200 bonus at the end of the first two years, Traci Benjamin, a spokesperson for 32BJ said. Pitt also granted workers two additional paid sick days and agreed to freeze healthcare co-premiums for the first year, she said. Co-premiums could go up in years two and three, Benjamin said, but if they go up more than five percent, the union will renegotiate that part of the contract with Pitt. 

Pitt will also provide additional job training for service workers who come in contact with chemicals or potentially hazardous materials, Benjamin said.

Pitt spokesman John Fedele was not immediately available for comment by the time of publication.

Students, community leaders and Pitt’s service workers have been rallying for higher wages, cheaper healthcare and a new contract since February. These rallies, Benjamin said, helped the workers gather the support they needed.

“We need allies to make a stand,” Benjamin said. “It’s service workers today, it’s food workers tomorrow.”

Overall, she said, workers are pleased with the contract.

“We want to help raise up this community,” Benjamin said. “This agreement will help. This will help them.”


Editor’s Note: This story has been updated

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