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Stanford, union open contract negotiations

STANFORD -- Negotiations between Stanford and the union representing 1,300 of its employees opened Friday, July 19, representatives from both sides said.

Michael Tatham, chief negotiator for the United Stanford Workers union, said the first session would begin at 1:30 p.m. and would be primarily informational in nature. A regular meeting schedule might be set as early as next week, he said.

Stanford's chief negotiator is Michael Vartain, senior university counsel.

The current three-year contract with the USW expires on Sept. 1, one month before Stanford's Centennial Finale weekend. The last negotiations, in 1988, went two months past the Sept. 1 deadline but there was no strike.

At a news conference held just before the first session, Tatham refused to say if the union had identified definite "strike issues."

The union team, which includes six workers, four alternates and a graduate student, plans to present a 30-page proposal in the early stages of negotiating. The university has two weeks to respond to that proposal, Tatham said.

The United Stanford Workers union (Service Employees International Union, Local 680) represents a wide range of university workers, from food service employees and groundskeepers to technicians and medical laboratory workers.

Tatham said the union negotiators considered job security, pay increases, improved pensions and affordable medical insurance as key issues.


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