Local 615 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Boston University officials have agreed to a four-year contract governing wages and benefits for 650 service and maintenance employees at Boston University.
Manuel Monteiro, associate vice president for human resources and the University’s chief negotiator, describes the deal as a “win-win for the University and the members of Local 615.” Monteiro says the agreement provides the employees represented by the union with a generous wage package and offers both sides stability for the next four years.
Photo by Kalman Zabarsky
New to the contract, says Monteiro, are a performance review process aimed at employee development and changes to the health plan contribution schedules of those who retire between the ages of 55 and the age they become Medicare-eligible, currently age 65, and wish to remain on the University-provided health plan. This change calls for early retirees to pick up 50 percent of the cost of health care, rather than the rates in effect for employees. Monteiro says trade-offs on health-care issues resulted in a freeze on copayments for doctors’ visits and for prescription medicine.
The two sides also compromised on their initial demands concerning wages. Originally, the University and the union were far apart in their respective wage proposals; however, as various nonwage aspects of the labor agreement were resolved, the wage differences narrowed. The new contract calls for increases over the next four years of 3.25 percent the first year, 3.25 percent the second year, 3.25 percent the third year, and 4.0 percent the fourth year.
Rich Vendetti, a member of Local 615’s negotiating committee, says the union is happy with the agreement.
“When it was ratified, there were 392 votes for yes and 111 for no,” says Vendetti, who has been a carpenter at BU for 21 years. “That tells you that most of the guys were happy with it. I think both sides worked really hard, and this was the best we could get and the best they could give.”
Joseph Mercurio, BU’s executive vice president, says that the University’s wage structure will make its custodians and trades workers among the best-paid employees in their respective positions in the Boston area.
“The University is very proud of this group of hard-working and loyal employees,” says Mercurio. “We have a tradition of recognizing their value and their contribution towards making Boston University a better place to work for everyone. They are important members of the University community.”