Rochester, N.Y. - Service workers at the University of Rochester say they have not come to an agreement because they can't afford the increased expense of health care benefits the University of Rochester is offering.
Workers were picketing in front of the main entrance of strong Friday.
Currently they do not pay premiums on their health insurance but they say the University of Rochester’s proposal to replace the current health care plan could cost them at least $2,500 a year out-of-pocket. Something many workers say they cannot afford.
“Not with this job alone, it definitely wouldn't cut it,” said Alan Young an Environmental Service worker at Strong. “With starting a family having doctor's appointments, check ups, things like that, keeping the little one healthy it would not pan out, it wouldn't work too well for us.”
The University put out this statement:
“After about a month of negotiations, the University of Rochester and its service employees’ union, SEIU/1199 United Health Care Workers, have reached consensus on the non-compensation aspects of a renewed contract. In late September, University negotiators presented our proposals around pay, health insurance, time off, and outsourcing.
We are committed to offering a compensation package for unionized employees that’s highly competitive, as well as fair and equitable with our non-union staff. We are not seeking to reduce pay or eliminate benefits for these employees. Instead, the changes we’re recommending would make it easier for both the University and the union to understand the health needs of employees and better control costs for health care coverage. Moving to University health insurance would also provide unionized employees with more choices of plans and access to preventive care at a variety of pricing options – the same choices enjoyed by our non-union employees.
We are always prepared to return to the bargaining table to negotiate a fair and equitable contract.”
The service workers and the University of Rochester are scheduled to meet again on Monday.