On Aug. 16, the College reached an agreement on a four-year contract with Wellesley’s Independent Maintenance and Service Employees Union. The agreement includes a 4% salary raise for union members, potential for dining staff to progress more quickly through the salary scale, full-time employees having vacation time in their first year of employment, and increased tuition assistance for employees pursuing a degree.
The new agreement runs from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2027. Patricia Diggins, business agent for the Independent Maintenance and Service Employees Unions of America (IMSEUA), says that she is already seeing the changes in effect.
“I noticed that the food service employees would get a break to attend the Staff Welcome Back Cookout, which is a step forward since often food service can’t attend campus events,” Diggins said. “I think the College is willing to consider ideas to help workers because it has become increasingly difficult to find workers.”
Task Force Leader of the Union and Labor Advocacy Taskforce (UniLAd), and President of Wellesley for the Abolition of Militarism & Incarceration (WAMI), Hannah Grimmett ’25, said that while she is proud of the work done by Wellesley’s IMSEUA, the four year duration of the contract is concerning.
“One of the things we struggle with the most in maintaining momentum in campus movements is the consistent 4-year turnover of almost the entire student body,” Grimmett said. “Previous collective bargaining agreements have been 3-year agreements, meaning for any given negotiation cycle, there was at least one class year who could remember the previous negotiations cycle. With a four-year agreement, the institutional memory of students gets wiped completely clean between each negotiation.”
Vice President of Finance and Administration and Treasurer, Piper Orton, said the College and IMSEUA were focused on creating a contract that would support the union employees and College operations.
“Our union colleagues are important, valuable members of our community, and every day their contributions help the College fulfill its mission,” Orton said.
Grimmett extends support to the union on behalf of UniLAd and WAMI to continue the progress and efforts made by maintenance and service staff to advocate for better working conditions.
“I believe as students and fellow members of this community, we have a responsibility to leverage our collective power to stand alongside IMSEUA in their demands at every opportunity,” Grimmett said. “Our goal with UniLAd is to create a lasting organization that can provide consistent support and solidarity to all working members of the Wellesley College community, whether negotiations are happening or not. Organizing power is a constant project, and we’re excited to continue offering our support and solidarity to our amazing friends in IMSEUA.”