The striking Capital Centre service employes' union reached a tentative agreement yesterday with management over a contract, thus averting a prolonged strike that could have jeopardized Sunday's NBA All-Star Game. p
That contract must now go before the 300-member Service Employees International, Local 82, which includes paprking lot attendants, ushers, ticket sellers and collectors, for ratification.
The union had voted to go on strike Tuesday night after rejecting a management contract that would have provided a 95-cent raise spread over three years. Employes had asked for a $1.05 hourly wage increase to be phased in over two years.
After 3 1/2 hours of negotiation under the supervision of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the two parties yesterday afternoon reached a settlement.
Under that agreement, workers will be given a $1.05 wage increase to be spread out over three years.
"There are some noneconomic items that we wil have to go back to the bargaining table to discuss in the next several days before we can take the contract to union members," said Mose Lewis III, attorney and chief negotiator for the union.
"However, I think it's fair to say that we've settled the major dispute over wages and ther should be pretty smooth sailing from now on."
Lewis said the union hopes to persuade the Capital Centre management to limit the amount of work that it subcontracts to outsiders. "If we don't do something, there won't be any union. Everything will be contracted out," he commented.
About 80 percent of the union employes are part-timers. Lewis said that many are moonlighters and, except for members of the "change-over" crew, which prepares the auditorium floor for hockey or basketball, many of the union members are easily replaceable.
"The Capital Centre management is pleased that the service employes union has accepted the last of our offers and called off their strike," Robert Zurfluh, Capital Centre public relations director, read from a prepared statement.
"We are blessed with one of the best arena staffs in the country and we are pleased that they can now go back to work and concentrate on providing services for our patrons."
Capital Centre administrators had promised after the union declared its intention to strike that replacement workers would be found and service would not be disrupted.
Union leaders had threatened to ask members of the NBA Players Association and the local union which represents CBS Sports cameramen to honor their picket lines, thereby jeopardizing the All-Star Game here.
"There is no need to contact anybody now," said Lewis. "We've reached a tentative settlement and we expect that settlement to be ratified." Lewis said the union probably will vote on the contract sometime next week.