Essential workers in Oxford OK ‘good solid contract’

MARK GILES

MARK GILES

Local 888 members in Oxford are celebrating a new contract — overwhelmingly approved — that delivers raises, an improved sick bank and better language regarding holiday and sick pay.

“It’s a good, solid contract,” said the chapter president, Mark Giles. In keeping with the COVID-19 era, voting was done by text and email, he said.

The cafeteria and custodial workers covered by the contract, 23 members, got 2 percent in retro pay for the past fiscal year. The new three-year contract starts July 1 — with cost-of-living raises of 2 percent and 1 percent followed by 1 percent with a wage reopener clause.

During the coronavirus crisis, the cafeteria workers continued to make free breakfast and lunches through the spring for the Oxford children who have signed up for them. The students’ parents pick them up at the high school. The cafeteria members have gotten full pay, while dividing up the needed shifts among them this spring.

The cafeteria workers will continue to provide food for kids through the summer.

Custodians were on a part-time schedule, while getting paid for full time, earlier in the COVID-19 crisis. Now they are back in the schools full time as the next school year draws closer. Of course, plans for the fall opening of the schools are still being determined, as with the rest of the state.

The improvement in sick pay rules was a key part of the new contract, he said. Under the old contract, members had to use their personal and vacation days up before dipping into a sick bank funded by members. Now, once a member exhausts their sick days, they can use the sick bank, which other members donate sick days to.

For more on Oxford, see www.seiu888.org. For more information on safety in the COVID-19 era, see https://tinyurl.com/MassCOSH888.

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