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LETTER: Low wages hurting AFSCME


To the CMU community:

In July, the union contract that represents the Service Maintenance group of CMU will expire. In the interim, contract negotiations will begin between CMU and AFSCME, the union that represents the 187 workers made up of custodial, grounds, warehouse workers and skilled trades.

I write this letter to the CMU community with the understanding that economic and fiscal concerns of the university are at the forefront whenever contracts are bargained. I want to bring attention to one group of our unit that has sacrificed more than their share in concessions over the past seven years.

Six years ago, our unit agreed to a two-tier wage scale for custodial services. Employees in that work group hired since July 2008 have worked for $9.50 an hour. During these six years, both custodial wage tiers have remained frozen and 2 and 3 percent increases have been paid in lump sums.

Privatization of custodial services at CMU has been the wedge to extract these concessions.

It is my hope that during this round of negotiations, CMU will recognize that $9.50 per hour is well below the poverty level set by the federal government for a family of four. I hope CMU will work with the bargaining team in recognizing that these wages are hurting hard-working members of its staff and our community.

Bob Guzowski Skilled Trades, AFSCME local 1568