While American Airlines is still having troubles negotiating with its pilots' union, we are pleased that our own corporate behemoth, Harvard, has solved its troubles with the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW). Just when the union members picketing outside Mass. Hall were getting warmer weather and more tourists to witness their discontent with the University, HUCTW has ratified a joint HUCTW-University agreement.
This agreement maintains full-time health benefits for part-time workers for another year as well as two four percent salary increases. Happily this time HUCTW members are satisfied with the agreement after having signed it.
What happens after the year ends is still unclear. Negotiators are still working on a long-term agreement that will satisfy both parties. However, the agreement is a major step since 1994 when the University first announced cuts.
"I would like to think that we've agreed in a very significant way to mutually prefer an alternative to a [health care] benefits cut," said Bill Yaeger, director of the union. We hope both the University and HUCTW will remember this mutual preference when they renegotiate next year and will approach under the same conditions they did in the recent round, as opposed to the previous process when HUCTW members didn't even have a chance to read the text of the agreement.