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HUCTW and University Reach Tentative Contract After Longest Negotiations in Union's History

UPDATED: March 11, 2013, at 9:43 p.m.

The Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers reached a tentative agreement on the details of a new contract with the University, ending the longest negotiations in the union’s history.

The tentative contract, which is pending ratification by HUCTW members, includes a first-year wage increase of 3.4 percent for a typical HUCTW member with at least one year of service at the University. It also calls for two more salary increases at the same rate in 2013 and 2014.

The rate of the salary increases was one of the most debated topics between the two sides in the negotiations. HUCTW Director Bill Jaeger said that he thought the wage increase, which is smaller than those during previous boom years with higher inflation but larger than those the union saw in the 2010 agreement right after the financial crisis, was very appropriate for this point in time.

“Our members, more than anything else, have cared about having some meaningful real wage growth, and that is in there for sure,” Jaeger said.

Leaders on both sides said they are satisfied with the result of the negotiations.

“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement that is fair for the University and the members of the HUCTW,” Harvard’s Vice President for Human Resources Marilyn Hausammann wrote in an email to The Crimson. “We value and recognize the important role that HUCTW members play every day at Harvard, and we look forward to moving ahead together with the work of the University.”

One issue that remains without a solution is healthcare benefits. The tentative agreement refers all unresolved health care issues to a newly created HUCTW-Harvard Health Care Negotiating Group, which will meet frequently in an attempt to find a mutually agreeable solution.

While Jaeger said he believes the negotiating group will be able to come to an agreement, he recognizes that health care is a difficult and long-term problem.

“I don’t think it’s going to be quick or easy...but at least we’ve got a new framework and a new way of thinking about it and maybe some hopeful and positive attitudes coming out of this agreement,” Jaeger said.

If ratified by HUCTW members in a vote on April 2, the new contract will go into effect retroactively for July 1, 2012, and will expire on September 30, 2015.

HUCTW is planning meetings with its members in the next few weeks to ensure that they understand the details of the new contract before their ratification vote on April 2. Jaeger said he is confident that the union's members will approve the contract.

—Staff writer Christine Y. Cahill can be reached at christinecahill@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @cycahill16.

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