Emerson College staff members toasted their hard-fought contract victory and their subsequent election of officers with a party at Democracy Brewing in downtown Boston.
It feels great to celebrate," said Emerson research librarian Cate Schneiderman, who served on the negotiation committee. "It was stressful and it took a lot of work to come to terms with the college."
The Emerson chapter’s first collective bargaining agreement with the college guarantees across-the-board raises of 14.5 percent over the four-year contract, strong "just cause" job protections and a broad parental leave policy.
A key turning point in the chapter’s mobilization campaign was a May Day rally at the Emerson administration building. During the demonstration, the college president agreed to join other Emerson representatives at the bargaining table. Emerson then dropped its insistence on merit pay.
Newly elected Chapter Chair Dennis Levine said the contract success was due to members "sticking to their guns — and sticking with the union." Levine added, "We need to keep everybody in the administration honest. But we can’t do that without you. Please everybody, stay involved — so we can all make Emerson a better place to work."
On behalf of the new Emerson union members, chapter Treasurer Elbert Lee told Local 888 field rep Ronald Patenaude: "Thanks for all you have done."
For his part, Patenaude talked up the importance of stewardship training, "If you don’t know what your rights are, you won’t know how to enforce them."
The other new chapter officers are: Shaylin Hogan, vice chair; Robin Chace, recording secretary; and Korina Figueroa, chief steward.