The University has begun to negotiate with two of the unions whose contracts with Harvard expire this fall and has written a third asking for a bargaining session. The three unions include two large ones, the Metropolitan Trades Council and the Harvard University Employees Representative Association, and one small one, the Boston Typographical Union, whose case is especially interesting.
It seems that the 17 BTU members who work on hot-type printing equipment in the University Printing Office have been getting an especially good deal from Harvard--because of a special contract they were paid in-town wages, which are higher than Harvard's, along with Harvard's better-than-average benefits. Harvard severed its contract with the BTU in March, apparently fed up with the relationship.
Sources familiar with the Boston labor scene say the BTU's attractive contract was a contributing factor in the Graphics Arts International Union's decision last spring to go on strike against the printing office.
Harvard-BTU negotiations reportedly are going very smoothly.