After two full days of voting, USofCC union members voted by a clear majority to accept management’s last wage offer. The final vote was 182 in favor of accepting the offer and 24 to reject, or 88% acceptance among those voting.
The large turnout reflected a concerted effort by the union to reach out to our diverse and widely scattered membership. Voting was conducted on site, covering both the north and south ends of campus. Polls were kept open all day. Publicity was sent out in advance, and employees who did not report to campus on voting days were able to vote via absentee ballot. Seven non-member staff joined the union prior to the vote.
Special thanks go to those who took the time to vote, as well as the 21 USofCC members who volunteered their time to help conduct the vote. One volunteer, Cornell Wright, wrote that “I really enjoyed meeting staff from different departments from all across the campus. Coming together to vote is always a great way of building unity, plus it gave our members an opportunity to have their voices counted.”
The common view of those voting was that management’s offer was at least an increase, and better than nothing. Most were appreciative of the effort given by the bargaining committee to move the College administration off its initial proposals of nothing, and then 1% (with no guaranteed bonus). Part-time employees were pleased that, for the first time, they were included as a group in the annual pay increases.
The bargaining committee will sign and send the agreement to management for signatures. Payroll will then implement the increases on January 15, 2011 for all Columbia employees hired before June 1, 2010. According to management, employees should receive three separate checks on January 15th: the regular paycheck with the 1% increase, the retroactive check based on all hours worked since September 1, 2010, and the 1% bonus payment.
The USofCC negotiating team will take a short break, and then begin the arduous task next February of negotiating with the administration for next year’s increase. Under discussion are plans to increase the size of the bargaining committee, and to develop a more unified and active approach among our membership to achieve the pay increase that the staff truly deserves.
For any questions or comments, please call the Union office at 312 369-3201, or email USofCC at email@example.com.