After months of negotiating with the chancellor’s office, members of the California State University Employees Union, SEIU Local 2579, will receive their first raises in three years.

“It was a rough start, but we came out with a happy ending,” said Pat Gantt, president of CSUEU. “Most employees are dedicated and proud of their jobs, but get really frustrated because they don’t get raises.”

CSUEU and the chancellor’s office have agreed on salary and service increases totaling to a 4.075 percent base pay adjustment for the 2005-2006 fiscal year for the employees.

The tentative bargaining package also includes maintaining the current 100-90 formula for medical benefits, parking fee prices and a $500 rural subsidy for employees.

“I feel like we came to the best possible agreement considering the amount of funds on the table,” CSUEU member Dennis Dillon said. “We could’ve gotten more in the language areas, but that’s what bargaining is all about.”

The tentative bargaining agreement must be ratified by both CSUEU members and the CSU Board of Trustees.

Contract ratification ballots will be sent to CSUEU members and must be returned by Oct. 24.

“I expect a positive outcome in the ratification,” Gantt said. “The agreement isn’t enough to meet all of the employees’ needs and we know that.”

Gantt says the union plans to continue negotiations next year. “We will be submitting new proposals in January on job rights and seniority. The proposal will focus on a much larger scope.”

Since February the CSUEU has visited campuses with a variety of negotiations and demonstrations such as rallies with their proposal for salary increases and benefits.

Dillon says the issues that surround employee salaries began in the 90s, and some employees have lost income over the last several years due to a lack of raises.

“The CSU system took steps away to stagnate the process of getting a raise. At the end, you get a compensation package instead,” Dillon said.

But Labor Relations Manager Sharyn Abernatha says negotiations are two-way processes with both sides having their own limitations.

“We’re dependent on the state for money and we need to reconcile the budget with the negotiations,” Abernatha said.

The CSUEU, SEIU Local 2579, represents more than 15,000 CSU employees in bargaining units, health care support, operations support, clerical and technical supports.

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