Library union members voted 25 to 14 Tuesday to accept an agreement reached at the end of Monday’s bargaining session, according to Karen McAninch ’74, the union’s business agent.
Under the new contract, workers will pay 7 percent of their health insurance premium costs beginning in July 2011, an increase from the current 6 percent. That figure will rise to 9 percent in July 2013 and to 12 percent when the contract runs out Sept. 30, 2014.
Though the previous contract covered only three years, McAninch said Brown and the union agreed to a four-year contract because the University sought a guarantee that workers would eventually contribute 12 percent of health premium costs. The union could not agree to that large of an increase over just three years, she said.
Wage increases accompanied the premium share increases. Library union workers will see an increase of 2 percent in their base wages for each of the next four years, effective Oct. 1 of this year. In addition, workers are set to receive a 1.5 percent increase July 1, 2013 and a 1 percent increase on the contract’s expiration date, when health insurance contributions rise to 12 percent.
The agreement also calls for more frequent meetings of a joint union-management committee to study proposals for further job training for union members in the hopes of preserving union work, she said.
When asked why the vote was not closer to unanimous adoption of the agreement, McAninch said concerns still lingered that cost of living increases could outpace pay increases over the term of the contract. She also said some members felt that the issue of preservation of union work had not been adequately addressed.
Though only 39 of the 65 union members participated in the quickly organized vote during work hours, McAninch said, she has not heard any complaints from members who did not vote.
“We’re pleased that library union and university negotiators were able to reach a fair and competitive agreement in a timely manner,” wrote Vice President for Public Affairs and University Relations Marisa Quinn in an e-mail to The Herald.
“I want to add that Brown is so fortunate to have such a dedicated community,” wrote Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Beppie Huidekoper in an e-mail to The Herald. “These are extremely challenging times and Brown’s employees have been terrific at working together to ensure that Brown’s students get the best experience possible.”