Possible strike at University of Rochester could impact hundreds of jobs
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A possible strike could be coming that could impact hundreds of jobs at the University of Rochester and its hospitals.
Wage negotiations have been going on for some time between the U of R and the union that represents a variety of skilled trades.
Wednesday the vote did not pass and there is no new contract.
Union members tell News10NBC they sent a notice to the University of Rochester of a possible strike that would affect more than 300 jobs and several operations at the University including the hospital and now the University has days to find a solution.
“On Wednesday, we presented another vote for our contract negotiation. The final contract at the U of R was presented as our final offer, take it or leave it. We declined it by a huge margin. It was a vast majority,” union worker Robert Carr said.
Carr is a plumber who works at the University of Rochester and is also a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 158.
“A notice of intent to strike, we sent out today to the University of Rochester from our union. So that encompasses probably 300 plus men and women,” Carr said.
Carr said because of high inflation they just want to be in a comfortable contract to be able to stay afloat.
“We just kind of want to keep our buying power and keep our families fed and keep our bills paid, take care of our obligations, and with the small amount of money that they were offering it was like taking money out of our pockets,” Carr said.
In a statement, the University of Rochester said:
On Tuesday, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 158 (IUOE) bargaining unit held a ratification vote regarding new terms of a contract that had been negotiated with the University of Rochester. IUOE represents about 320 skilled trades staff in multiple roles who service and maintain campus facilities, including those at the Medical Center.
Unfortunately, the vote did not pass and we currently do not have a renewed contract with IUOE. While we are disappointed that the vote did not pass, the University will continue to bargain in good faith towards a new agreement that is fair and equitable to all staff.
As of today, University operations will continue as usual with staff reporting for work and performing their normal job duties. Should a strike occur, University of Rochester operations, including operations at the Medical Center, will continue through the implementation of our contingency plans that will allow essential teaching, research and patient care activities to proceed.
Negotiations between the University and IUOE will now recommence and we remain optimistic that we can reach agreement on a contract renewal.
“There’s a lot of things at stake in the building houses biological labs, medical facilities within the med center. I mean, patient care safety could be at risk. There’s a lot of responsibility that we take on as mechanics at the University,” Carr said.
As of Wednesday, university operations will continue as usual with staff reporting for work and performing their normal job duties.
If the university and the union do not come to an agreement and ratify it in the next 9 days they will be striking.