Unionized food service workers at the University of Pittsburgh will have higher wages and more affordable health insurance under a new three-year contract with employer Sodexo.
The deal comes almost four months after about 200 union employees held a three-day strike protesting low wages and high-priced insurance.
Non-union Sodexo employees will not receive the benefits of the agreement.
32BJ SEIU Western Pennsylvania Director Gabe Morgan says Sodexo’s previous health insurance plan was unaffordable for many of the employees. Morgan says under the new contract, Sodexo is offering multiple health insurance options at varying rates. The company will pay 90% of employees’ premiums and 80% of family coverage.
Morgan says every union employee will also receive a wage increase. The highest-paid workers will receive a minimum increase of $1.50 per hour over three years, while the lowest-paid employees would see a total three-year increase of up to $4.00 an hour. He says that will bring the pay range from about $10.00 to around $15.00 an hour, about two dollars per hour more than in the previous contract.
“This settlement and what’s happened with our union members is a much more accurate reflection of what happens to most folks who work on the University of Pittsburgh campus,” says Morgan. “Most folks there do have affordable health insurance. Most folks there do make a decent wage. We’re really happy to see Sodexo’s food service workers begin to fall into line with the good norms that exist at the university.”
Morgan says SEIU is working with the non-union employees to help them get the same benefits that their unionized coworkers will receive. He says SEIU is one of several entities across the nation bringing charges against Sodexo with the National Labor Relations Board. SEIU claims that Sodexo management tried to prevent workers from organizing in late April.