P-Plant workers, University want Feds to mediate

Margot Finkel ’09 of USLAC writes in with depressing news about the contract negotiations between Physical Plant workers and the University:

Their situation is really serious and the negotiations aren’t going well. The fact they have been working this long without a contract and that a federal mediator had to be brought in yet again to a Wesleyan bargaining table is shameful. If Wesleyan gets what it’s asking for, Physical Plant workers will be losing thousands of dollars a year to health care costs, rather than getting the raise they deserve.

A statement prepared by the union’s business agent:

Local 153 of the Office and Professional Employees Union (OPEIU) representing Physical Plant employees, and the University have reached out for a Federal Mediator to assist in their ongoing contract negotiations.

The Union reports that in addition to wages, the parties remain far apart on a number of other issues still on the table. In addition to economic give backs the other issues include more than doubling the employee premium contribution for healthcare coverage, and implement drug testing program.

Although the contract between the parties expired on June 30, 2007, negotiations have been ongoing under an extension agreement until the parties meet again on Tuesday December 18th.

The Union’s bargaining committee believes that with what is on the table as of now it is not likely the parties will reach a settlement. However, they remain optimistic that as long as the parties keep talking, there is always the possibility of reaching a settlement. One that both parties can live with.

If you want to show your support, show up to the aforementioned contract negotiations:

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 18
Time: 10:30 (AM, I’d assume)
Location: Usdan

44 thoughts on “P-Plant workers, University want Feds to mediate

  1. Anonymous

    I wonder how many Wesleyan professors and administrators will apply for Physical Plant positions now that the secret is out that “P Plant workers often make more than professors”?

  2. Anonymous

    I wonder how many Wesleyan professors and administrators will apply for Physical Plant positions now that the secret is out that “P Plant workers often make more than professors”?

  3. Mad Joy

    well-put, 2:08.Wesleyan is certainly not a philanthropic organization, I agree. But I do think that everyone Wesleyan hires should be able to make a living wage and have affordable health insurance. I think that those goals are not outside of Wesleyan’s reach, and is doable without any absurd raise in tuition. One of the reasons I’m paying such high tuition to Wesleyan is because I wanted to go to a socially responsible school, and I think that I am, and I’d like to keep it that way.

  4. Mad Joy

    well-put, 2:08.
    Wesleyan is certainly not a philanthropic organization, I agree. But I do think that everyone Wesleyan hires should be able to make a living wage and have affordable health insurance. I think that those goals are not outside of Wesleyan’s reach, and is doable without any absurd raise in tuition. One of the reasons I’m paying such high tuition to Wesleyan is because I wanted to go to a socially responsible school, and I think that I am, and I’d like to keep it that way.

  5. Anonymous

    We’re at Wesleyan, we’re obligated to portray ourselves as liberal and socially conscious and compassionate as we possibly can and not let anything rational or fact-based get in our way, so we must blindly and unquestioningly demand that physical plant workers and dining workers make 75 dollars an hour and get free health benefits and then the university has to hire white male republicans to wash their feet.in other words, see anon 12:56

  6. Anonymous

    We’re at Wesleyan, we’re obligated to portray ourselves as liberal and socially conscious and compassionate as we possibly can and not let anything rational or fact-based get in our way, so we must blindly and unquestioningly demand that physical plant workers and dining workers make 75 dollars an hour and get free health benefits and then the university has to hire white male republicans to wash their feet.

    in other words, see anon 12:56

  7. Anonymous

    First, many of the jobs physical plant is supposed to do are given to other companies that hire their own (possibly non-union) workers. So, for instance, if a sink is broken, a plumbing company might be hired to do the job instead of physical plant workers. That way, physical plant workers do not have as much power as part of the union. Physical plant’s staff has been reduced in the past couple years. One year, four workers retired, and no one has been rehired since. So, if there are non-union workers doing physical plant’s work on campus, it can ultimately take power away from the workers here. Also, the union is not a bad thing. Ideally, the union would protect workers from having to pay so much money for health insurance. In addition, in answer to the comment about physical plant workers making more than professors, i don’t really know where you heard that from, but I do know that professors were recently asked to pay more for health insurance. However, in this case, professors also received a pay raise and and ANOTHER pay raise for the extra insurance money. The board of trustees pushed for professors to also get an income raise.I also would hope that we don’t have to choose between workers on campus having affordable health insurance and students being able to afford to go to school here. I think that we can have it both ways, students shouldn’t have to choose between affordable tuition and workers’ rights.

  8. Anonymous

    First, many of the jobs physical plant is supposed to do are given to other companies that hire their own (possibly non-union) workers. So, for instance, if a sink is broken, a plumbing company might be hired to do the job instead of physical plant workers. That way, physical plant workers do not have as much power as part of the union. Physical plant’s staff has been reduced in the past couple years. One year, four workers retired, and no one has been rehired since. So, if there are non-union workers doing physical plant’s work on campus, it can ultimately take power away from the workers here.
    Also, the union is not a bad thing. Ideally, the union would protect workers from having to pay so much money for health insurance. In addition, in answer to the comment about physical plant workers making more than professors, i don’t really know where you heard that from, but I do know that professors were recently asked to pay more for health insurance. However, in this case, professors also received a pay raise and and ANOTHER pay raise for the extra insurance money. The board of trustees pushed for professors to also get an income raise.
    I also would hope that we don’t have to choose between workers on campus having affordable health insurance and students being able to afford to go to school here. I think that we can have it both ways, students shouldn’t have to choose between affordable tuition and workers’ rights.

  9. Anonymous

    It’s an important topic, I think we all do agree on that, but bloggers are students too. Our main job is to post what gets sent to us, and during finals I think it’s really unrealistic to expect us to do investigative work (or really, if we don’t want to, to do investigative work at all.) If you want to know more about this topic, you should e-mail USLAC or the administration or the union or any other stakeholder. If Justin has time, he’s a good guy, he’ll get to it. But nobody gets paid for this, and finals suck, so look at Wesleying as a place to get a taste of the issues. For now, if you want to know more, I have faith that you are adult enough to find out yourself.-A Wesleying blogger

  10. Anonymous

    It’s an important topic, I think we all do agree on that, but bloggers are students too. Our main job is to post what gets sent to us, and during finals I think it’s really unrealistic to expect us to do investigative work (or really, if we don’t want to, to do investigative work at all.)

    If you want to know more about this topic, you should e-mail USLAC or the administration or the union or any other stakeholder. If Justin has time, he’s a good guy, he’ll get to it. But nobody gets paid for this, and finals suck, so look at Wesleying as a place to get a taste of the issues. For now, if you want to know more, I have faith that you are adult enough to find out yourself.
    -A Wesleying blogger

  11. Anonymous

    9:45am- Or you could do it yourself. some of us are busy this time of year, don’t be such a sarcastic jackass…

  12. Anonymous

    9:45am- Or you could do it yourself. some of us are busy this time of year, don’t be such a sarcastic jackass…

  13. Anonymous

    “let me inquire with the union and with USLAC and see what I can turn up.”Sure, Justin – that will give you a more unbiased view. How about reaching out to the administration too to see if we can get their viewpoint?

  14. Anonymous

    “let me inquire with the union and with USLAC and see what I can turn up.”

    Sure, Justin – that will give you a more unbiased view. How about reaching out to the administration too to see if we can get their viewpoint?

  15. Anonymous

    Yes, do thank the people doing the work. Also, treat them like human beings. I never thought I’d see Wesleyan students harassing the service workers who keep their campus running, but recently I did see just that. I’m sure most of the students would find this behavior just as disgusting as I found it, but for those few who think it’s acceptable to act like spoiled children … grow up, eh?-Someone who works here

  16. Anonymous

    Yes, do thank the people doing the work. Also, treat them like human beings. I never thought I’d see Wesleyan students harassing the service workers who keep their campus running, but recently I did see just that. I’m sure most of the students would find this behavior just as disgusting as I found it, but for those few who think it’s acceptable to act like spoiled children … grow up, eh?

    -Someone who works here

  17. Anonymous

    anon 12:56, thank you, thank you, thank you, voice of reason.Honestly, sorry if it sounds awful to you, but caving the the unions’ every demand like a lot of students seem to advocate would ultimately drive up my tuition, and I’m not sure that I really WANT to pay a couple thousand dollars more in interest (on my loans) to keep someone’s salary artificially high and protected from the market while upon graduation I’ll be working at market prices, making a fraction of their salary/benefits (at least initially)? Hmm… yeah no.

  18. Anonymous

    anon 12:56, thank you, thank you, thank you, voice of reason.

    Honestly, sorry if it sounds awful to you, but caving the the unions’ every demand like a lot of students seem to advocate would ultimately drive up my tuition, and I’m not sure that I really WANT to pay a couple thousand dollars more in interest (on my loans) to keep someone’s salary artificially high and protected from the market while upon graduation I’ll be working at market prices, making a fraction of their salary/benefits (at least initially)? Hmm… yeah no.

  19. Justin

    Anonymous @ 2:11:You make a valid point. I’ve posted as much information as I was given; though I can spare a few minutes here and there to keep tabs on Wesleying and post what comes into the mailbox, I unfortunately don’t have the time right now to do any investigative reporting.But, let me inquire with the union and with USLAC and see what I can turn up. Please be patient; all parties involved (including myself) are quite busy this week, I’m sure.

  20. Justin

    Anonymous @ 2:11:

    You make a valid point. I’ve posted as much information as I was given; though I can spare a few minutes here and there to keep tabs on Wesleying and post what comes into the mailbox, I unfortunately don’t have the time right now to do any investigative reporting.

    But, let me inquire with the union and with USLAC and see what I can turn up. Please be patient; all parties involved (including myself) are quite busy this week, I’m sure.

  21. Anonymous

    I respect that this story just “broke” as it were, but…Give us more information. This post is remarkably pro-worker and anti-university, but I (the reader) don’t see enough information here to indisputably back that standpoint. I see that Wesleyan’s plan would be bad for physical plant workers. But what is physical plant’s plan? Will it spike tuition? Is there some other (non-financial, of course) reason for Wesleyan to oppose it?And if it turns out that this is as serious a problem as USLAC says it is, then tell us more about potential avenues for positive change. Just telling us every single detail of the problem will not be sufficient to get us to get things done.(And somehow I think thanking physical plant workers, while in general a decent thing to do, won’t get things done either.)In short, tell us more. There are only like 20 extra seats in that little room in Usdan, and we can’t all go.

  22. Anonymous

    I respect that this story just “broke” as it were, but…

    Give us more information. This post is remarkably pro-worker and anti-university, but I (the reader) don’t see enough information here to indisputably back that standpoint. I see that Wesleyan’s plan would be bad for physical plant workers. But what is physical plant’s plan? Will it spike tuition? Is there some other (non-financial, of course) reason for Wesleyan to oppose it?

    And if it turns out that this is as serious a problem as USLAC says it is, then tell us more about potential avenues for positive change. Just telling us every single detail of the problem will not be sufficient to get us to get things done.

    (And somehow I think thanking physical plant workers, while in general a decent thing to do, won’t get things done either.)

    In short, tell us more. There are only like 20 extra seats in that little room in Usdan, and we can’t all go.

  23. Bex

    I might guess that the latino dude who graciously cleared off my porch and shoveled the sidewalk in front of my house was non-union. at the least i know that non-white physical plant workers have much less agency. but yeah, anyway, if you see someone clearing all this snow shit off the sidewalks tomorrow, thank them!!

  24. Bex

    I might guess that the latino dude who graciously cleared off my porch and shoveled the sidewalk in front of my house was non-union. at the least i know that non-white physical plant workers have much less agency.

    but yeah, anyway, if you see someone clearing all this snow shit off the sidewalks tomorrow, thank them!!

  25. Anonymous

    I know what I’m going to say is unpopular, but do listen.The University is not a malicious organization. It is not out to screw over unsuspecting employees. While the University should be a socially responsible institution, it not a philanthropic organization. It is a capitalist organization and has every right to bargain with its workers in its own best interest. Union advocacy is certainly important, as having University employees become part of a union will give them a fairer platform to negotiate. But it is not required of us, as students, that we blindly support the workers against the University simply out of social responsibility, especially without being fully informed of the specific issues of this negotiation. The economic interests of the University are ultimately our interests, as tuition-payers. So feel free to support the union, but do realize that this is a negotiation between two parties which both have valid interests, and that the economics in play are directly tied to your own expenses.

  26. Anonymous

    I know what I’m going to say is unpopular, but do listen.
    The University is not a malicious organization. It is not out to screw over unsuspecting employees. While the University should be a socially responsible institution, it not a philanthropic organization. It is a capitalist organization and has every right to bargain with its workers in its own best interest. Union advocacy is certainly important, as having University employees become part of a union will give them a fairer platform to negotiate. But it is not required of us, as students, that we blindly support the workers against the University simply out of social responsibility, especially without being fully informed of the specific issues of this negotiation. The economic interests of the University are ultimately our interests, as tuition-payers. So feel free to support the union, but do realize that this is a negotiation between two parties which both have valid interests, and that the economics in play are directly tied to your own expenses.

  27. Justin

    Anonymous @ 12:29: I’m by no means as informed on this matter as I should be, I’m just posting something USLAC sent me. Margot didn’t mention anything about a petition, but I think it’d be a great idea to start one. Perhaps you should take the initiative! I’d get in touch with USLAC and see if and how they could help.Anonymous @ 12:42: I’m not sure what you mean. The title doesn’t say that the University has demanded a mediator. It says that Physical Plant workers and the University want (third person plural, implying both parties) the Feds to mediate their negotiations. Forgive me for not understanding, but could you elaborate?

  28. Justin

    Anonymous @ 12:29: I’m by no means as informed on this matter as I should be, I’m just posting something USLAC sent me. Margot didn’t mention anything about a petition, but I think it’d be a great idea to start one. Perhaps you should take the initiative! I’d get in touch with USLAC and see if and how they could help.

    Anonymous @ 12:42: I’m not sure what you mean. The title doesn’t say that the University has demanded a mediator. It says that Physical Plant workers and the University want (third person plural, implying both parties) the Feds to mediate their negotiations. Forgive me for not understanding, but could you elaborate?

  29. Anonymous

    the title is a little off. its not the university that has demanded the mediator. it is that the negotiations have been so bad the parties agreed the mediator was necessary.

  30. Anonymous

    the title is a little off. its not the university that has demanded the mediator. it is that the negotiations have been so bad the parties agreed the mediator was necessary.

  31. Anonymous

    this is so fucked.i cant believe that this shit still goes on and that no one cares.THESE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT GIVE YOU WARMTH AT NIGHT.THIS IS THEIR WELFARE.Justin, is there a peition to sign somewhere?Wake up Wesleyan,Things are not so clean and happy and warm on the Wesleyan campus, and it’s our inability to organize, or to give a FUCK about anything, that continues to give this place a bad rap.If there’s a petition to sign, SIGN IT. If there’s a meeting, GO TO IT. We’ve all got shit on our plates this week, but writing your name on a piece of paper is not time consuming, and could potentially do some good.

  32. Anonymous

    this is so fucked.
    i cant believe that this shit still goes on and that no one cares.

    THESE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT GIVE YOU WARMTH AT NIGHT.
    THIS IS THEIR WELFARE.

    Justin, is there a peition to sign somewhere?

    Wake up Wesleyan,
    Things are not so clean and happy and warm on the Wesleyan campus, and it’s our inability to organize, or to give a FUCK about anything, that continues to give this place a bad rap.

    If there’s a petition to sign, SIGN IT. If there’s a meeting, GO TO IT. We’ve all got shit on our plates this week, but writing your name on a piece of paper is not time consuming, and could potentially do some good.

  33. Anonymous

    STOP WITH THE TAGS.if you have something to say in the post, say it there. tags are not there for that purpose.

  34. Anonymous

    STOP WITH THE TAGS.

    if you have something to say in the post, say it there. tags are not there for that purpose.

  35. Anonymous

    which non-union workers are you talking about? and where did you hear that physical plant workers make more than professors?

  36. Anonymous

    which non-union workers are you talking about? and where did you hear that physical plant workers make more than professors?

  37. Anonymous

    Ha! Don’t let the university “screw over? workers? P Plant workers often make more than professors.

  38. Anonymous

    Ha! Don’t let the university “screw over? workers? P Plant workers often make more than professors.

  39. Anonymous

    one thing you should check out is how much the non-union staff earns and pays for health insurance before you worry about the union workers that get overtime.

  40. Anonymous

    one thing you should check out is how much the non-union staff earns and pays for health insurance before you worry about the union workers that get overtime.

Comments are closed.