STRIKE AVERTED: Bard College Service and Maintenance Workers Ratify Agreements
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY – Bard College’s approximately 110 service and maintenance workers in its Building & Grounds and Environmental Services departments, represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 200United, voted overwhelmingly today to ratify their contracts, ending months of negotiations with the Bard administration and averting a potential strike by the 60 Bard building maintenance and grounds workers.
Workers in Bard’s Environmental Services Department, who clean the dormitories and academic buildings, won historic hourly increases over the life of the agreement, including a nearly 23% increase to base pay effective immediately. The start rate will rise from $15.50 an hour to $19.00 immediately and to $19.50 in 2025. Approximately 45 SEIU members in Environmental Services will receive minimum raises between $2.25 and $3.50 an hour immediately upon ratification, retroactive to July 1. Building & Grounds workers won an 11% wage increase over the three year agreement.
April Pulver, an environmental services specialist at Bard College for more than 30 years and a union negotiating committee member, celebrated the agreement, “This is the best contract we have ever won. I’m glad my fellow members voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratification. I’m proud of my coworkers for standing together in solidarity to secure a fair agreement that recognizes our hard work at Bard College. This would not have been possible without every single one of us standing together in unity for a fair contract.”
Bard College initially demanded steep concessions on individual and family health care insurance and offered only modest raises that did not reflect the higher cost of living in the Hudson Valley, along with other concessionary demands. After months of negotiations and a unanimous strike authorization vote by the SEIU members in the Building & Grounds department, the Bard administration finally dropped all of its concessionary demands and agreed to maintain 100% College-funded individual health insurance workers in both departments.
Bridget Maple, a Bard College gardener and union chapter vice chair, said, “We are relieved that we avoided a disruptive strike and reached a fair agreement that recognizes our contribution to the Bard College community. Bard College works because we do and the contract we won reflects that. We are thankful to the students and broader Bard community for their support over the past few weeks and months.”
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 200United represents thousands of higher education workers at over 30 colleges and universities across New York and Vermont, including maintenance and dining service workers at nearby Marist College and Vassar College in the Hudson Valley.