Pittsburgh – 400 Property Service workers at the University of Pittsburgh who maintain the school’s buildings and grounds ratified a new three-year contract today. The deal ensures that those hard working men and women will continue to make family-sustaining wages through which they can provide for their families and inject hard-earned dollars into the local community.
“We work hard on this campus. We are the backbone of this school. We deserve to not have to struggle to make ends meet. This contract gives us the dignity we are due,” said Pam Johnston, a Pitt worker.
The workers’ contract expired in December. They continued to work month-to-month while negotiations took place. Pitt students, community members and elected officials rallied in support of the workers and voiced their commitment to good jobs at Pitt.
“The ratification of this contract demonstrates what we can accomplish when major employers and unions work together until a fair deal is reached for all. Not only does this contract help the workers, it helps our city,” said Pittsburgh City Council President Bruce A. Kraus (D-3rd). “If Pittsburgh is going to be the world-class city we want it to be, we have to make sure that working people are making as many gains as the rest of us.”
“This contract ensures that these will remain good jobs. When 400 workers get a raise through a fair contract, it allows those workers to provide for their families and contribute to businesses in their neighborhoods,” said Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak (D-4th). “We applaud the University and 32BJ for coming to an agreement that’s good for the campus and for the city as a whole.”
The terms of the contract are retroactive to January. Workers will not see an increase in healthcare co-premiums in the first year. The agreement also includes hourly pay increases each year, bonuses in each of the first two years, along with commitments to improved on-the-job training.
“This agreement is a testament to the contributions these workers make to this university – the whole Pitt community supported them through this fight, and we deeply appreciate that solidarity,” said Sam Williamson, Western Pennsylvania Area Leader for 32BJ SEIU. “We know that good jobs lift men and women out of poverty and better our communities, and we’re glad to have taken a step forward in making Pittsburgh the world-class city we all want it to become.”
32BJ represents nearly 900 workers on the University of Pittsburgh’s Oakland campus in property service, food service, and most recently, security officers employed by U.S. Security Associates.
With 145,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., including 22,000 in Pennsylvania, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.