They were at odds over health care, "The health care plan the workers have had for over 35 years at the beginning of negotiations management at the University of Rochester wanted to take away that plan and put them on a plan that could cost up to $3000 a year, which the workers were very much against," explained Larry Knox, SEIU's communications manager.
Both sides compromised, "The union agreed to take a lower pay increase in return for the money going into the National Benefits Fund that's when we really had the flexibility to make a deal," said Terri D'Agostino of the University of Rochester.
Under the deal the University will cover the union members health care with few exceptions. In exchange the union members accepted a 1.5% wages increase instead of the 2-2.5% given to non-union members.
After a tough battle, union members are pleased, "Being in a union makes a difference I think that tonight shows that you could fight for your rights, for health care, fight for your wages," said Knox.
The contact will expire in September of 2014. Both sides will meet again in the fall to negotiate the wage increase for the second year of the contract.