CUNY Research Foundation (RF)central office workers voted this week to ratify a new union contract.The vote was 76 in favor and 8 opposed. The five-year collective bargaining agreement provides $750 in bonuses and a 15.4% cumulative salary increase. The contract, which will be voted on by the RF Board of Directors at their December 18 meeting, was finalized after a hard-fought, fourteen-month campaign. Read on for more details.
PSC RF-CUNY Central Office
November 4, 2013
The solidarity you demonstrated through rallies, the one day strike in the rain, walk-arounds, t-shirt days, the petition to President Rothbard and signs in your cubicles enabled the bargaining team to reach a tentative agreement with management. You should be proud of your inspiring and fearless unity. And please thank your department reps and bargaining team who worked tirelessly on this contract campaign.
At a time when the pattern in NY State is wage increases of 0% in the first three years and 2% in the last two years and most private sector contracts have deferred increases in the first year or two, the union succeeded in negotiating:
- $750 bonus, $500 upon ratification and $250 on July 1, 2014;
- 2.25% wage increase on 1/1/13 (full retroactivity), 2.5% on 1/1/14, 3% on 1/1/15, 3.25% on 1/1/16 and 3.5% on 1/1/17. To calculate your own salary increases, click here.
- The cumulative salary increase is 15.4% over five years.
Obtaining full retroactive pay was a major accomplishment. The union fought long and hard for it, and management did not agree to it until the very end. You said you were worth more than 2%, and we succeeded in not agreeing to any increases that were only 2%. Management said there was nothing we could do to get to 3% in any year, and yet we have three years of increases at or above 3%. The union said we would not accept a two-tier wage structure, and management finally withdrew their proposal to eliminate longevity pay for new hires. None of this would have been possible without your steadfast display of unity.
In this tentative agreement the union also obtained most of the things you identified as priorities in your contract survey:
- The use of up to five sick days per year to care for an ill or injured family member.
- Delaying the increase in the employee contribution to the health insurance premium to the third year of the contract (1/1/15) when it will increase from 19 to 21%. After 1/1/15, the EPO premium sharing is guaranteed to stay at 21% through the fifth and final year of the contract; the POS/PPO contribution may go up to 22% if the premium sharing goes up for non-bargaining unit employees.
- Established paid parental leave by permitting both men and women to use two weeks of sick leave for the birth or adoption of a child. For women, this is in addition to the period of physical disability.
- Reduced the minimum time that can be charged to sick leave from one hour to one quarter hour.
- Added a 30 year longevity increment of $3,675.
- Clarified flex time rules.
The union agreed to some concessions on leave and benefits for employees hired after 1/1/2014, but succeeded in retaining a solid benefit package for new hires.
- New hires will begin with ten days of annual leave. The accrual will increase one day per year until the sixth year at which time new employees will revert to the current accrual schedule. New hires may carryover no more than 175 hours (25 days instead of 35 days) of annual leave from one calendar year to another.
- New hires will accrue 4.5 hours of sick leave per biweekly pay period instead of 5.5 hours for a total of 16.7 days annually. The accrual of sick leave is capped at 160 days.
- New hires must enroll in the EPO plan for the first two years of their employment.
- The maximum amount of severance pay for new hires will be 12 weeks of pay instead of 16;
- The probationary period for new grade level V employees will be nine months.
The union agreed to a new dress code, in which we preserved the right to wear all colors of denim jeans except blue and not to have to tuck in shirts designed to be untucked.
On November 14, the Delegate Assembly voted to recommend the tentative agreement for ratification.