I stopped by the event SEIU Local 200 had tonight at the Dryden Veterans Memorial Home. One of the things that frustrates me about labor negotiations is that they're rarely considered news until there's a crisis, and I thought I'd see what was happening before it made (or didn't make) headlines.
George Junior Republic did sign a contract with Local 200 last year, but it was a one-year contract, which explains why this is happening again so soon. The same basic issues - healthcare and wages - are up for discussion, in a similar context. The New York State budget is squeezed again, and it's unlikely the state will increase reimbursements much. Healthcare costs are rising, and issues like prescription coverage are becoming more important.
Still, Bob Lucas, the local president, was "pretty hopeful that we can get a contract in on time." There isn't a whole lot of time, as the old contract expires midnight on April 30th, but there's some time. Lucas felt that the conversations were "more positive than all of the other other ones," having been through the negotiation process a few times in the nine years the union has been at George Junior. He noted that the school has been expanding, with new construction going up, and more boys coming in.
Teachers at George Junior, represented by the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), have been working without a contract since June, and only ratified that contract a month before it expired. They're on a separate contract which also needs negotiation.
Bob Tompkins, Education Director of SEIU Local 200, noted that in addition to negotiations with George Junior, the union was sponsoring a lobbying day in Albany to press the state for more funds to support the school and other human services agencies.
I did find a description of last year's contract results on the SEIU site:
On April 14, members at George Junior Republic in Freeville ratified a new one year agreement. These HSA workers won a 40¢ across the board wage increase and a lump sum payment of $200. Members were also brought into the SEBF health insurance plan. Improved holiday pay, tuition reimbursment, and premium pay for Support Staff round out the package.
I'll report again as developments happen.Posted by simon at March 16, 2005 10:12 PM in labor , schools (other)