Harvard University and the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers have reached agreement on the terms of a new three-year contract, to go into effect on July 1, 2004. The Agreement, which must be ratified by the union’s members before it becomes official, provides for wage increases, a strengthened commitment to work security, substantial increases in subsidies for child care and education, and new programs in the areas of housing and transportation.
Negotiations on the new contract, which began in October 2003, marked a continuation of the collaborative, problem-solving approach that has long characterized our union-management relations. Our discussions were challenging because of financial pressures on the University as well as on employees and their families. Throughout the negotiation process, however, the Union and University negotiators maintained a respectful approach.
The three-year wage package is intended to provide steady economic progress for HUCTW staff, balanced with University needs to manage costs. In each year of the contract, employees will receive general or “structural” increases and progression increases. The first-year increase will be delayed, and delivered on November 15, 2004. The second-and third-year increases will be effective July 1, 2005, and July 1, 2006.
The work security program was created by HUCTW and Harvard in 1992 and provides “case management,” preferred hiring status, and eligibility for continued salary and benefits for any laid-off employee who has been laid off and is actively engaged in seeking a new Harvard job. The new agreement will expand upon the original provisions and add new ones to provide more effective support for employees who are eligible for work security, and clearer responsibility for hiring managers to consider them.
We have agreed to continue working closely together to improve and broaden training courses, and to develop an approach to performance development processes for unionized employees. In addition, the settlement increases funding for education and child care. We have also agreed to funding for assistance with the costs of after-school programs for the teenage children of HUCTW members.
Finally, we have agreed to take significant first steps in helping staff with the challenges of housing and transportation around the Harvard campus. New programs will include workshops and advising on rental housing and home buying, an increased University subsidy for commuter rail T-passes (in the second year), and a new no-interest loan program for expenses related to rental housing transitions.
HUCTW members will receive more detailed information on the tentative agreement from the Union, and will hold a ratification vote on June 17.