The University and the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical workers (HUCTW) are have announced that they have reached agreement on the terms of a new three-year contract that includes wage and benefit changes; an emphasis on career development, education, and training for staff; and a renewed commitment to the labor-management partnership. The new contract, which must be ratified by the union’s members before it becomes official, will go into effect on July 1, 2007.
While the specifics of the new agreement are important, the innovative and constructive process that the parties followed to reach this agreement is of equal significance. The parties broadened their interest-based approach of prior negotiations to include eight subject-matter Side Tables comprising more than 80 union members, managers, administrators, and human resource personnel from across the University.
These joint Side Tables focused on various areas of common concern that included career mobility, development, and training; work/life issues; benefits; housing and transportation; and joint governance and organizational design. Union and University negotiators participated together in training on interest-based negotiating skills. The Side Tables identified respective interests and, through joint collection and review of data and research, developed multiple options to address these interests as recommendations to a Central Coordinating Table (“CCT”). The CCT, in turn, was charged with the integration of the Side Table recommendations and final negotiation of a total agreement, including the negotiation of wages and other broad University-wide issues. The new agreement includes changes and new programs in the following areas:
Union-management partnership and joint governance
• New structures and resources to oversee and support the parties’ joint committees, joint councils, and problem-solving teams
Career mobility and education
• A clearer agenda for the strengthening of professional development programs, promotion of programs relating to career mobility, study of performance development methods, and ongoing evaluation of core training classes related to career skills
• Improvements in the Tuition Assistance Plan to provide broader coverage and simpler administration
• Increase in the HUCTW Child Care Fellowship Fund and establishment of a new mechanism to provide Child Care Fellowship funds as tax-free to members
• New programs providing assistance for commuting expenses
• An opportunity for longer-service staff to convert some unused vacation days to a Tax-Deferred Annuity contribution
• A salary package that includes three yearly increases in wages that will ensure that Harvard salaries remain fair as well as competitive and provides the opportunity for a comfortable standard of living
• Increases in shift differentials and meal allowance
The union has said that it is pleased with the course of these negotiations and believes that through this comprehensive process the parties have successfully negotiated a successor Agreement and Personnel Manual that addresses the interests of the University and HUCTW while also strengthening the parties’ relationship and capacity to work constructively together for many years going forward.