University, unions face off again

AFSCME requested a 6 percent wage increase and said the University is stalling.

Devon Sykes

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees unions and the University are in a series of contract disputes.

The unions – AFSCME locals 3800, 3937 and 3260 – are requesting a 6 percent wage increase, while the University wants to increase wages by 1.5 percent. Under both plans, a 2 percent step increase would be added to the base raise.

Carol Carrier, vice president of the University’s Human Resources office, said this step increase would affect only certain workers, as it is related to seniority. Under the AFSCME plan, an additional 2 percent step increase would be afforded to workers who didn’t get one during the recent wage freeze.

During the negotiations, union leaders filed suit against the school because University negotiators wouldn’t allow members from multiple unions to negotiate simultaneously. Union members said this was wasting their time and making the process more difficult.

According to Candace Lund, president of the technical union AFSCME Local 3937, the University offers the same proposal to each union anyway.

“In effect we are all doing the same thing at the same time,” Lund said. “The University stalled us in August. They refused to do any work until the last day of five full days of negotiations.”

Carrier said she disagrees. “We go to the table, there’s a process, we talk about items,” Carrier said. “We certainly wouldn’t characterize what we do as stalling.”

Carrier said the University is making progress with the Teamsters and other employee groups, and that the University “hopes that we will have successful agreements with the other unions as well.”