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USW members ratify three-year labor contract

STANFORD -- Members of the United Stanford Workers union voted overwhelmingly on Monday, Sept. 23, to ratify a new three-year contract with Stanford University.

About 85 percent of union members attending the ratification meeting voted in favor of the pact. Tentative agreement had been reached the previous night between the University and union negotiating teams. The union's previous contract had expired on Sept. 1.

The contract calls for raises of 4 percent the first year and 3 percent in each of the last two years. The first year's raises will take effect on March 1, 1992, the same as other Stanford employees.

Barbara Butterfield, the new vice president for human resources, said she would meet with union officers to sign the new contract within a few weeks.

While saying he was generally pleased with the contract, union negotiator Lon Warneke, a senior engineer at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, said he was upset that "the working people are paying for the university's mismanagement. We don't feel we should be paying for the mistakes of the people misusing the taxpayers' money."

Warneke said the contract featured improvements in the grievance procedure, use of vacation time, health and safety language, and affirmative action.

Most important, he said, the union fought off attempts to have employees pay a portion of their individual health coverage. Payments will increase, however, for coverage for dependents.

University administrators said they were pleased the labor contract was settled before the Sept. 28-Oct. 1 Centennial Finale Weekend celebration. Detailed contingency plans had been drawn up in case of a strike.

"We are delighted not only at the prospect for agreement, but at the relationship between [union] and Stanford representatives during the bargaining process -- which was positive and constructive," said University President Donald Kennedy. "I thank Stanford's workers and their negotiators for this timely contribution to the centennial; we have much to celebrate together."

Said Butterfield: "The administration is pleased that an agreement could be reached that is acceptable to both the university and the union. I am particularly pleased for the university community -- faculty, students and staff -- in light of the start of the new academic year and the centennial activities."



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