Union, UR reach tentative agreement

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Service Employee International Union officials say they have reached a tentative agreement with the University of Rochester. The announcement comes after several months of talks and a one-day walkout last week staged by the union.

Two SEIU units representing some 1,800 River Campus and UR Medical Center workers have been negotiating with the university since their contracts expired at the end of October. The pacts’ expiration came after several contract extensions.

With the tentative deal, 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East and SEIU Local 200United called off a vote on a second strike that had been scheduled for today. Contract talks began in late August and stretched to 33 sessions.

200United SEIU represents River Campus building and dining services workers, porters, cooks, library stack attendants, catering service assistants, bus and truck drivers, and stockkeepers.

1199SEIU represents a broad array of staffers—environmental service workers, nursing assistants, cooks, food service workers, dietary workers, dental assistants, drivers, patient care technicians, materials processing specialists, patient unity secretaries, porters, stockkeepers, transport assistants, transportation center workers, truck drivers, and unit support assistants—at Strong Memorial Hospital, the area’s largest hospital.

Union officials plan to publicly release details of the agreement once rank-and-file members ratify the pact. A vote is planned for next week, with a date to be determined.

“Workers at URMC were able to stand up and demand dignity and respect by negotiating a fair contract and that gives them a real voice on the job,” 1199SEIU vice president Tracey Harrison said in a statement. 

In an apparent reference to 200United SEIU efforts to organize UR graduate students working as teaching assistants and researchers at the school’s River Campus and in URMC laboratories, Harrison added, “we hope to see more workers at URMC doing the same.”  

Will Astor is Rochester Beacon senior writer. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

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