P-Plant union, University reach agreement

BREAKING NEWS
WESLEYING EXCLUSIVE

The Physical Plant workers’ union, the Office and Professional Employees’ International Union (OPEIU), reached an agreement with the University early this morning.

One detail of the new contract: health insurance payments will not rise until 2010, at which point they will increase to 18.5%. University negotiators had been demanding that workers pay 33%.

Though the terms of the contract are “nothing to brag about,” according to one Physical Plant employee, they’re much better than what the University was initially offering.

As of right now, it is unknown the extent to which President Roth’s recent meeting with union representatives influenced the new contract. It seems likely, though, that the deal was brokered with Roth’s support. As was reported in Tuesday’s issue of the Argus, President Roth has said he doesn’t “like the fact that the people who have worked here for a long time are unhappy with how we’ve negotiated.” Roth met with University negotiators last Friday, and sat down with University negotiators and union representatives yesterday.

P-Plant workers had been without a contract for nearly ten months.

UPDATE: President Roth has sent out an email to the Wesleyan community announcing the approval of the contract:

I’m pleased to announce that Wesleyan’s Physical Plant employees have approved a new three-year contract through a vote of the membership today. I’d particularly like to thank union representatives and the University’s negotiating committee for their patient and diligent efforts to reach an agreement. Everyone in the Wesleyan community is a beneficiary of the good faith efforts shown by all parties to bring their discussions to a successful conclusion.

—Posted at 11:17 AM; updated at 4:20 PM.

24 thoughts on “P-Plant union, University reach agreement

  1. Drew

    It sounds like the problem is more or less resolved. The economy is in the tank, and everyone’s feeling the squeeze. It sucks that physical plant has to take a hit, but these things happen. All in all, it could be worse. That’s only a 3.5 percent increase in insurance costs.

  2. Drew

    It sounds like the problem is more or less resolved. The economy is in the tank, and everyone’s feeling the squeeze. It sucks that physical plant has to take a hit, but these things happen. All in all, it could be worse. That’s only a 3.5 percent increase in insurance costs.

  3. Anonymous

    @2:20In the real world, people are paid a competitive wage, rather than handed piles of money because their employers greatly pity the work they have to do or respect them for doing a heroic job. Unions are formed so workers and employers can meet as relative equals and negotiate a fair contract, given the economic limitations of both parties. For Wesleyan to participate in its other social functions, for example extending more financial aid grants, it needs to be able to negotiate competitive wages for its employees.

  4. Anonymous

    @2:20
    In the real world, people are paid a competitive wage, rather than handed piles of money because their employers greatly pity the work they have to do or respect them for doing a heroic job. Unions are formed so workers and employers can meet as relative equals and negotiate a fair contract, given the economic limitations of both parties. For Wesleyan to participate in its other social functions, for example extending more financial aid grants, it needs to be able to negotiate competitive wages for its employees.

  5. Anonymous

    Look, I believe that PP should have gotten a better deal, but there is no need to dis administrative assistants. The previous message was referencing salaried employees, “administrative staff” in Wespeak. The administrative assistants are unionized, and are not just sitting at a desk, thank you! They are performing increasingly critical functions as administrative offices decentralize responsibilities, and when you compare actual job descriptions (not just titles) to other local institutions, they are sadly underpaid. But their shot at negotiating a better situation is about to begin.

  6. Anonymous

    Look, I believe that PP should have gotten a better deal, but there is no need to dis administrative assistants. The previous message was referencing salaried employees, “administrative staff” in Wespeak. The administrative assistants are unionized, and are not just sitting at a desk, thank you! They are performing increasingly critical functions as administrative offices decentralize responsibilities, and when you compare actual job descriptions (not just titles) to other local institutions, they are sadly underpaid. But their shot at negotiating a better situation is about to begin.

  7. Anonymous

    Admin, registrar, alum developement, etc are regular working hours, climate controlled environment, non physical labor generally, M-F, no weekends, no holidays, etc. The OT they have to work is also limited to special events and if they need to finish something. P-Plant and P-Safe are the “essential” employees that have to be out in any and all weather, all hours of the day, nights, weekends, holidays and deal with everything after the admins go home. When was the last time an administrative assistant had to do foot patrols in the snow when its 10 degrees out on Christmas day, chase down an assault suspect, or work on New Years Day to babysit the University Boiler Room to make sure the students and admin have heat in the morning or to respond to fix a leaking toilet at 3am after its leaked for hours????Think of the garbage these guys and girls have to deal with. The hours, the work environment, the mandatory OT, getting stuck at work with maybe an hours notice for a double, being called in at odd hours, forced to work doubles on special days (graduation, arrival day, homecoming) or come in on their days off for those days, have to work weekends as part of the regular schedule, etc. Plus P Plant has to keep their electrician, plumbers, etc licenses and certification up to date, P Safe has to go thru recert training classes. Both departments have huge liabilities associated with them as well as extra training, which isn’t always conducted during their normal working hours. They are the ones being told OT is a “perk” and then are forced to do it and give up days off.When was the last time a secretary responded to a shots fired call?? When was the last time the Registrars office had to come in at 3am because a pipe in a house broke and the contents of the toilet are now dripping down to the floor below?? When was the last time a secretary had to respond to a major motor vehicle accident and start medical treatment before the paramedics arrived, when was the last time someone from Alum Developement had to work a 16 hour shift because someone used a sick or personal day at the last minute, or had to come in to deal with a major crisis or mechanical issue on campus like a fire or power outage in a dorm?? When was the last time one of the Admin Assistants had to be outside during the pouring rain to fix a leaking roof, or to repair a major water leak in the middle of winter?And now the benefits are costing more? These are the people who do physical work and are more likely to have to use their benefits because their job demands more from them than sitting at a desk. Ask yourself who should get paid more and who does more for the Wesleyan Community!

  8. Anonymous

    Admin, registrar, alum developement, etc are regular working hours, climate controlled environment, non physical labor generally, M-F, no weekends, no holidays, etc. The OT they have to work is also limited to special events and if they need to finish something. P-Plant and P-Safe are the “essential” employees that have to be out in any and all weather, all hours of the day, nights, weekends, holidays and deal with everything after the admins go home. When was the last time an administrative assistant had to do foot patrols in the snow when its 10 degrees out on Christmas day, chase down an assault suspect, or work on New Years Day to babysit the University Boiler Room to make sure the students and admin have heat in the morning or to respond to fix a leaking toilet at 3am after its leaked for hours????

    Think of the garbage these guys and girls have to deal with. The hours, the work environment, the mandatory OT, getting stuck at work with maybe an hours notice for a double, being called in at odd hours, forced to work doubles on special days (graduation, arrival day, homecoming) or come in on their days off for those days, have to work weekends as part of the regular schedule, etc. Plus P Plant has to keep their electrician, plumbers, etc licenses and certification up to date, P Safe has to go thru recert training classes. Both departments have huge liabilities associated with them as well as extra training, which isn’t always conducted during their normal working hours. They are the ones being told OT is a “perk” and then are forced to do it and give up days off.

    When was the last time a secretary responded to a shots fired call?? When was the last time the Registrars office had to come in at 3am because a pipe in a house broke and the contents of the toilet are now dripping down to the floor below?? When was the last time a secretary had to respond to a major motor vehicle accident and start medical treatment before the paramedics arrived, when was the last time someone from Alum Developement had to work a 16 hour shift because someone used a sick or personal day at the last minute, or had to come in to deal with a major crisis or mechanical issue on campus like a fire or power outage in a dorm?? When was the last time one of the Admin Assistants had to be outside during the pouring rain to fix a leaking roof, or to repair a major water leak in the middle of winter?

    And now the benefits are costing more? These are the people who do physical work and are more likely to have to use their benefits because their job demands more from them than sitting at a desk.
    Ask yourself who should get paid more and who does more for the Wesleyan Community!

  9. Anonymous

    1:38 — $30,000 – $60,000 a year; it’s a sliding pay scale.More salary details in a recent Argus WesSpeak by Canalia.

  10. Anonymous

    1:38 — $30,000 – $60,000 a year; it’s a sliding pay scale.

    More salary details in a recent Argus WesSpeak by Canalia.

  11. Anonymous

    “18.5% still kinda sucks when you consider the cost of health insurance compared to their salaries.”Do we have any idea what “their salaries” are – after all, many of these workers are union tradespeople. My guess is that they make more than a significant percentage of the front line administration people, especially when you add in OT which union laborers tend to get while salaried employees who work more than 40 hrs a week (think admissions, registrar, etc) don’t.

  12. Anonymous

    “18.5% still kinda sucks when you consider the cost of health insurance compared to their salaries.”

    Do we have any idea what “their salaries” are – after all, many of these workers are union tradespeople. My guess is that they make more than a significant percentage of the front line administration people, especially when you add in OT which union laborers tend to get while salaried employees who work more than 40 hrs a week (think admissions, registrar, etc) don’t.

  13. Isaac

    OK, I was confused about what the stat was about. 18.5% still kinda sucks when you consider the cost of health insurance compared to their salaries. But I suppose they’re better off than without the union.

  14. Isaac

    OK, I was confused about what the stat was about. 18.5% still kinda sucks when you consider the cost of health insurance compared to their salaries. But I suppose they’re better off than without the union.

  15. Justin L.

    Isaac, according to the Argus:”According to Canalia, the contract would give Physical Plant workers a 2.5 percent annual raise for three years as well as a lump sum bonus of about $2500, while doubling the share of insurance costs that workers are required to pay, raising them from 15 percent to 33 percent.”Members of the union rejected that contract. The new contract raises health insurance costs to 18.5% from 15%, starting in 2010.

  16. Justin L.

    Isaac, according to the Argus:

    “According to Canalia, the contract would give Physical Plant workers a 2.5 percent annual raise for three years as well as a lump sum bonus of about $2500, while doubling the share of insurance costs that workers are required to pay, raising them from 15 percent to 33 percent.”

    Members of the union rejected that contract. The new contract raises health insurance costs to 18.5% from 15%, starting in 2010.

  17. Sam

    The increase that was referred to here was in heath care payments by PPlant workers so it definitely wasn’t something the union was pushing for.

  18. Sam

    The increase that was referred to here was in heath care payments by PPlant workers so it definitely wasn’t something the union was pushing for.

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