The Cambridge City Council passed a resolution last Monday night declaring its support for the Harvard Union of Technical and Clerical Workers as the union continues its ongoing negotiations with the University.
City Council member Leland Cheung authored the resolution, which was then approved unanimously by the rest of the Council.
Current negotiations are the longest in history between the University and HUCTW, which represents over 4,600 of Harvard’s non-faculty staff. Because both sides have been unable to reach an agreement, the old contract, which expired July 1 of last year, still remains in effect.
In addition to voicing the Council’s support for HUCTW, the resolution addresses the dispute over workers’ salaries, which remains the main source of disagreement in the negotiations.
“Negotiations that ensure a consistent salary increase program and affordable health care solutions for union employees are essential for the sustenance of Cambridge’s local economy, community, and employees therein,” the Council wrote in its resolution.
In response to the City Council’s resolution and to assertions that the terms of the University’s proposed contract are not generous enough, a University spokesperson wrote in a statement that Harvard “share[s] the Council’s hope for a constructive resolution to the ongoing negotiations.”
“We are confident that our wage proposals, which have consistently been well above local inflation, are both fair and competitive,” the spokesperson wrote in a statement.
Cheung said the Council hopes the resolution will demonstrate to the union workers that the Council supports them, in addition to bringing awareness about the negotiations to the Cambridge community.
Cheung, a recent graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School, said that the HUCTW negotiations are especially important to him because he has experienced experienced firsthand the support that Harvard’s staff provides to the community.
“The issue is very personal for me, that we support the people who upported me in pursuing an education and made it such a pleasurable experience,” Cheung said.
HUCTW Director Bill Jaeger said that the Cambridge City Council has a long history of working with the union.
“It’s heartening for our members to know that the broader community, including elected officials, is paying attention and caring about what’s going on here,” said Jaeger.
“I hope it’s meaningful to the management negotiators also,” he continued.
—Staff writer Christine Y. Cahill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @cycahill16.
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