Members of Harvard’s largest labor union have ratified a two-year contract with the University that guarantees modest wage increases and provides policy improvements on key issues such as layoff selections.
University officials finalized the deal with the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) on June 28, two days before the previous contract was set to expire. HUCTW members voted on the new contract on July 22, with a strong majority voting in favor of the contract. HUCTW represents 4,400 employees, or about 18 percent of the University’s paid workforce.
“Much hard work and many hours went into negotiating this mutually beneficial agreement,” said Bill Murphy, director of Labor and Employee Relations. “I’m heartened by the parties’ ability to work constructively during such challenging economic times.”
Given the challenging economy and the unclear economic forecast, the University and the union agreed to a shorter contract with more moderate wage increases than agreed to in prior negotiations. Over the life of the contract, HUCTW workers will receive an average annual wage increase of 2.5 percent.
In addition, under the new agreement the layoff process was clarified. Specifically, negotiators agreed to add explicit layoff selection criteria to help guide decision making should the economy require the Harvard community to make difficult budgetary decisions in the future.
“This is the right answer for this time,” Murphy said. “The University and HUCTW have always bargained in good faith and I’m optimistic for what the future holds.”