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After over three months of negotiations and six weeks of working on an expired agreement, over 40 members of the Harvard security guards’ union voted to ratify a new contract with the University last week, which the union’s president hailed as a success.
The meeting was well-attended, with nearly half of the union’s 94 members showing up to cast a vote, according to Harvard University Security, Parking and Museum Guards’ Union (HUSPMGU) President Steve McCombe.
A spokesperson for the Harvard Office of Labor and Employee Relations said the changes to the contract came in the areas of wage raises and changed vacation and sick day policies.
The guards will all receive a raise for each year in the three-year deal, according to McCombe. The wages will increase almost 9 percent over three years when compounded: rates will increase 3.5 percent the first year, 2.75 percent the second and 2.5 percent the third.
“For this time, economics being the way they are, I think we made out very well,” McCombe said. “I think it did a significant amount. It’s a good contract.”
The contract also stipulates that any guard working over 17.5 hours a week may take two classes for a nominal fee at the Harvard Extension School, that any guard working over 16 hours will receive medical and dental benefits, and that any worker with over seven years of service who goes on short-term disability leave will receive 100 percent of their pay for the time of their absence, McCombe said.
He added that the negotiations were difficult at times—and made more so by the ongoing bargaining over the 17 remaining in-house security guards whose jobs will be outsourced.
That issue aside, however, McCombe said he is happy with the way the final draft turned out.
“We made out a little better this time,” McCombe said. “You’re never totally happy, but you’re happy somewhat.”
The bargaining over the 17 guards is still going on and there is no indication of when Harvard and HUSPMGU management will reach an agreement for those guards.
—Staff writer Laura L. Krug can be reached at email@example.com.
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