It’s finally over. At least for now.
After 18 months of negotiations, service workers and the University of California have come to an agreement regarding workers‘ pay.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299, representing over 8,000 UC service workers throughout the state, ratified an agreement with the university on Feb. 12 that will provide over $64 million in wage increases and establish a $14 per hour UC minimum wage by 2013.
After months of contentious negotiations, strikes and sit-ins, the two parties are finally in much-needed agreement. This is a victory for service workers, and it’s heartening to see the university recognizing the needs of these employees.
It is commendable that the university found the necessary resources to increase the workers pay by $64 million in the middle of a recession. It is also positive that the university implemented a longevity reward system that will adjust workers‘ pay to the length of time served in the position.
These are steps in the right direction to improve the socioeconomic status of UC workers trying to support their families on an hourly wage.
Now it‘s on to phase two.
The union has expressed its desire to take on workers‘ healthcare benefits as its next issue. It’s important for the union to take this recent agreement as a show of good faith by the university. AFSCME should tone down its accusatory, fiery rhetoric, as it only weakens the organization’s credibility and detracts from its cause.
While negotiating for further benefits in the future, the union should not forget that the UC did increase their salaries. The UC generally remains professional. The workers should be able to as well.
The Feb. 12 ratification has been a long time coming. It’s encouraging to see both parties come to an agreement.