State Workers to Receive Salary Increase, Improved Contract Language in One-Year Contract
HARRISBURG, PA – June 9, 2015 – State employee workers represented by SEIU Local 668 – Pennsylvania’s second largest State employee local – voted to ratify the tentative agreement offered by the Commonwealth.
The agreement, which covers approximately 10,000 State workers, offers a one-year step increase, a freeze on healthcare benefits, and improved contract language in the area of preservation of bargaining rights.
“The one-year agreement between our Local and the Commonwealth is in the best interests of our State employees,” said Tom Herman, President of SEIU Local 668. “Our negotiating team performed admirably in a difficult negotiating climate – a climate marked by a $2.3 billion dollar deficit and heightened public scrutiny of the collective bargaining process.”
Formal bargaining with the Office of Administration for a successor agreement to the State contract expiring July 1, 2015, took place at the Holiday Inn East on April 28. The Office of Administration’s negotiating team, led by OA Labor Relations Director Jay Gasdaska, presented a contract proposal that would provide State employees an initial 2.25% step increase in January of 2016 without changes to the existing contract language. After reviewing the Local’s contract proposals, and a brief caucus, the Office of Administration and the union came to a tentative agreement. The agreement was then brought to all full dues-paying State workers for a vote.
“We’ve made some real gains,” said Maria Delgado, Chair of the State-wide Rank and File Committee (representing over 4,000 Income Maintenance Caseworkers across the State), and a member of the Local’s negotiating team. “Addressing the vast majority of our member’s concerns are beyond the scope of a one-year contract. But we have made some important gains in the preservation of bargaining rights, as well as secured a salary increase for members.”
The vote count, which took place Monday evening, resulted in the ratification of the contract by a significant margin.
“As a former Income Maintenance Caseworker, I understand firsthand the financial difficulties many of our State workers face,” said JoAnne Sessa, Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU Local 668. “In the past few weeks, I’ve heard from many of our members who are pleased with the terms of the agreement – understandable during these challenging economic times.”
The ratification vote process itself was conducted on a Shop-by-Shop – a labor-intensive effort, but ultimately worth the result.
“I’d also like to thank our first-rate staff and member leaders for their tremendous efforts in seeing the contract ratification process through to completion,” said Mr. Herman.