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Urbandale School District —
Second Contract Wins
Wage, Insurance Progress


Second-ever contract negotiations for members of amalgamated UE Local 893 employed by the Urbandale School District resulted in significant gains in wages and insurance in the agreement ratified May 6.

In their first agreement, ratified a year ago, Urbandale Schools’ custodians, food service workers and printers won a $60 increase in the employers’ contribution to insurance — only to see the insurance company’s rates go through the ceiling not long after. Determined not to let that happen again, UE members united in support of their negotiating committee and rallied around a demand for progress on insurance — and not at the expense of wage increases.

The school district had other plans. With projected budget growth of only 2.17 percent, the district wanted an unremarkable settlement, which would have left employees further behind.


Union members achieved a contract which far exceeds the district’s projected growth. The one-year contract contains wage increases of 29 to 42 cents an hour, with a new longevity increment for people topped out on the pay scale. Most significantly, Urbandale workers also gain an additional employer insurance contribution of $180 — triple what they won last year.

UE members also realized a significant improvement in paid holidays. Prior to organizing their union, food service workers who worked more than 30 hours per week but less than 40 hours received no paid holidays. In their first contract they gained two holidays — and in their new contract they have gained a third.

The contract victory came despite adversity. Part-way through negotiations, custodians Megan and Kurt Nelson had to move to Seattle because of a family emergency; Kurt served as Urbandale union president. Their participation in the union and negotiating committee were sorely missed, but members remained united and forged ahead.

The UE committee consisted of Kurt Nelson, Tom Dale, Dale Bohall, Carol Hamilton, Lester Smith and Shelley Thomas. They were assisted by Field Org. Don Taylor.

UE News - 06/99

Home -> UE News -> 1999 Archives -> Article

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