Dining Hall Workers Complete New Contract
The union which represents Harvard's dining hall workers completed contract negotiations with the University last Friday, and a 75-member employee committee endorsed the new agreement by an overwhelming margin.
The new contract includes benefits that were originally negotiated by the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW), which completed its first contract late last month, said Dominic Bozzotto, who heads the dining hall workers' union.
Although the dining hall workers' contract expired on June 19, their bargaining representative, Local 26 of the Hotel Workers Union, agreed with the University to extend the deadline until the end of June so that HUCTW could complete its contract first.
As a result of the delay, Bozzotto said, the new dining hall services contract includes such benefits as a cost-of-living adjustment to the pension plan and inexpensive health insurance. HUCTW negotiated identical benefits for support staff.
"It is important that we give credit to the clerical workers," said Bozzotto. "We got the ripple effect of what they accomplished."
Such benefits are traditionally uniform for all Harvard staff, and according to Robert H. Scott, the University's vice president for finance, Harvard's unions do not seek different agreements.
But because this is HUCTW's first contract, the year-old clerical workers' union tried to break new ground on issues such as pensions, health care and child care, pushing for changes which will also affect workers in Harvard's seven other unions, Scott said.
Several dining hall employees interviewed yesterday said that since the union sent out contract summaries only yesterday, they had not learned enough about the contract to comment on it.
But one employee, who requested anonymity,said, "It sounds like a great contract--we gotbenefits we've never had. I don't think anyone intheir right mind would vote against it. But what Iwant to know is, why didn't we negotiate thesebenefits a long time ago?"
While Bozzotto and many dining hall employeessaid yesterday they were confident the contractwould be accepted. Bozzotto said that heanticipated some resistance from the MarriottCorporation, which employs the workers at theBusiness School's Kresge Hall.
"We [usually] negotiate a second contract withthe Marriott people. They have indicated to methat they may not accept the Harvard contract,"Bozzotto said. "But we are going to let theBusiness School people know that there is notgoing to be a second class of dining hall workershere. We will strike if we have to."
Representatives from the Business School andMarriott Corporation could not be reached forcomment yesterday.
In addition to those changes which came fromHUCTW's contract, the dining hall workers' newcontract includes provisions for a committee tomonitor workloads and a weighted system of raisesdesigned to benefit lower-paid employees,according to Bozzotto.
The new pay scale guarantees each employeeeither a 5 percent or 50 cent-per-hour raise,depending on which is higher for any individualworker, Bozzotto said.
Bozzotto also said that as HUCTW writes out theformal language of its contract this month, Local26 will be able to claim some other benefits. Hepointed to free use of the athletic facilities andinclusion in the University's $50,000 fund for daycare scholarships as benefits enjoyed by HUCTWthat Local 26 might seek to acquire.
"I guess we should be thanking thesecretaries," said one dining hall worker