It took picketing. It took federal mediators. But in the end, both sides say they're very happy with the new two-year contract agreed to Thursday night by the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Service Employees International union of workers.
It's a two-year contract. It does not touch employee health benefits; workers are still going to receive 100% health care coverage, very happy about that.
They also get a 1.5% pay raise this year, a little less than they wanted, and they do have to go back to the negotiating table to work out another raise in September of 2013.
Also there's more money for employee education and childcare, with no change to disability pay and benefits.
All in all, the union is very happy, and the University of Rochester Medical Center says this is a fair deal.
"Health care was a big thing. We have a lot of older members. The younger ones might not get it. But the older ones, it's something that we know we definitely need. Some of the younger ones get it, too. So, I think it was a win-win for everybody,” said Sharon Hale, SEIU bargaining committee.
"Being a union really helped. You know, sometimes the longevity of it, and just the pressure of it – but we stuck together. That's what good unions do,” said David Heath, SEIU bargaining committee.
"For the University, what was important was fairness with our non-union employees, and in the end, I think both sides came together, found common ground, and we ended up with a deal that's good for everybody,” said Teri D’Agostino, University spokesperson.
They do all have to get back together again at the bargaining table in less than a year's time, September 2013, to work out the next raise for the union employees. But right now everyone says it's a fair deal, they're happy, and they'll move forward.