Higher Education

Local 888 members compare contracts and swap stories at first Higher Education Labor Summit 

Staff and students from Brandeis, BU, Emerson, and UMass gathered to compare contracts and share strategies.

Higher ed staff and students from Brandeis, BU, Emerson, and UMass gathered to compare contracts and share strategies.

On June 15, members from BU, Brandeis, Emerson and UMass Lowell gathered to talk about their common workplace problems and share creative solutions. 

“The higher-ed summit was a great chance to meet with our counterparts at other schools and find that we relate on so many issues,” said Robin Chace, an Information Design and Support Specialist at Emerson College. “I was energized and motivated by the camaraderie and exchange of ideas that came from this meetup. I’m looking forward to the next one!”  

“I absolutely loved the opportunity to meet union members from other universities!” said Esther Brandon, Digital Literacy Specialist at Brandeis University. “We were able to compare challenges and develop relationships that will strengthen each union.  

Members talked about features of their respective collective bargaining agreements. In doing so, they found that while one agreement might have better contract language on promotions or just cause protections, another had superior pay or vacation time. Now higher ed chapter leaders are inspired to aim for the higher standards in future contract negotiations.

Members also shared tips and strategies on contract enforcement, bargaining, research and getting members involved.  The conference was also attended by students who have been active supporters of their campus unions. Building a strong alliance with students, faculty, other campus unions and the alumni community can strengthen workers’ on-campus power.  

At the conclusion of the meeting, members vowed to bring more higher ed members together for another meeting in September and to share the lessons learned with their coworkers.   

“As a union steward, the summit encouraged me to develop my leadership abilities,” said Esther Brandon. “It inspired me to get more involved in the larger workers’ movement. The summit helped me realize the larger perspective of unionized workers in solidarity with each other, instead of focusing on specific universities or one union. Working together, we can enact lasting change that will support future workers.” 

For more information about the next higher education meeting, contract Local 888 organizer by email at rwilson@seiu888.org or call (617) 241-3368.  

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