UMCP and service workers' union agree on pay increases, benefits

March 11, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

After two years of sometimes-stormy negotiations, the University of Maryland, College Park reached a tentative settlement yesterday with the union representing about 1,800 maintenance and service workers and other staff.

The agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees calls for a 4.1 percent pay increase in July, the first raise for workers in two years.

It also retains the tuition benefit for the families of employees and limits increases in parking rates for workers.

"We've been waiting to get an agreement for a long time, so we're pleased we got to this point," said university spokesman George Cathcart. "This will be a framework for future relationships."

The university is one of the last of the state's colleges to settle with AFSCME since the creation of union chapters representing about 6,000 campus workers two years ago. Still seeking agreements are employees at Morgan State University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

The chapters' formation was the result of a law passed at the urging of then-Gov. Parris N. Glendening approving collective bargaining for nonfaculty staff at public colleges.

Administrators at the College Park campus are still seeking a settlement with about 1,000 other workers represented by AFSCME, including counselors and administrative staff.

Negotiations with the service and maintenance workers were marked by several boisterous rallies on campus - rallies that AFSCME officials said yesterday had helped them reach a deal.

"We credit our activities with moving things forward. ... We went to great length to make it a public issue so that our opinion would be known," said Sally Davies, chapter president. "We didn't just want to be quiet about it."

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