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Six unions discuss contract

By Ben Stanger

The Research and Development Technology Employees Union (RDTEU) and Local 26 of the AFL-CIO called for "fair wages, decent benefits and job security" in an advertisement they placed in the Aug. 13 issue of the Cambridge Tab

The advertisement listed the salaries of six top officials in the MIT administration, including President Paul E. Gray '54. It asked: "Why can't these MIT decision makers understand our needs?"

Local 26 represents MIT's food service workers. The RDTEU represents technical employees at MIT, Lincoln Laboratory and Haystack Observatory.

MIT offered a pay increase to the unions of approximately three percent in June. The unions rejected the proposal and MIT has not made any further offers.

Domenic Bozzotto, president and business manager of Local 26, said the advertisement intended to direct workers' attention away from the percentage increase and call attention to "the pennies that those percentage points buy."

Local 26 has 88 members and the RDTEU has approximately 950 members, according to Charles J. Sbuttoni Jr., president of the RDTEU and a mechanic at the MIT National Magnet Laboratory.

Manager of Labor Relations James J. Fandel said MIT has contracts with five unions and seven bargaining units. Contracts with six of the employee representation groups expired June 30, 1985, and MIT is currently negotiating new contracts with all of them, Fandel said.

"The strategy [of the advertisement] is a total mystery to me," Fandel said. He called the listing of executive salaries a "preposterous" comparison of "apples and oranges."

Sbuttoni said the unions have made a "gentleman's agreement" with MIT to extend the present contract while negotiations continue.

"The unions are all connected" at MIT, Bozzotto said. Any increase for one of the unions is thus extended to all the unions, he explained.

Bozzotto added there is much "procrastination" in other MIT unions. Those bargaining units allow other unions take initiative and this is why only Local 26 and the RDTEU were involved in the advertisement, he continued.

"Our thrust for these negotiations is to get an equal pension plan," Sbuttoni said. Bozzotto said he is waiting for a proposal which increases annual pay as well as the pension fund.

"We've gone in depth on why we should have a better pension plan," Sbuttoni said. "We've given some good arguments." A better pension plan without any cuts would be a "giant step" towards negotiating a contract, he concluded.