HUCTW Workers Celebrate Contract Deal

Joanie D. Timmins

Members of The Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers gather in front of Massachusetts Hall on Tuesday afternoon. They were celebrating the new contract made with the University, which ended the longest negotiations in the union's history.

Workers from the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers stood in front of Mass. Hall one last time Tuesday to celebrate the conclusion of the union’s longest ever negotiations with the University.

During the past six weeks, HUCTW organized standouts every Tuesday and Thursday to bring attention to the ongoing negotiations.

While HUCTW’s old contract expired July 1 of last year, both sides had been stalled in negotiations about the details of the new contract until Monday, when a new tentative contract was announced. HUCTW members are slated to vote to ratify the deal on April 2.

This last event concluded the stand out tradition on a celebratory note. Signs with messages like “We Can’t Eat Prestige” were replaced by ones reading “Yay!!” and “FINALLY!”

“It’s been such a hard road to get to where we are,” HUCTW Vice President Laura Ebenstein said. “We feel good about it and we want to, in some way, make a hard situation end in a happy place.”

Participants said they came to the standout to thank the students and everyone else who has supported them over the course of the negotiations. Some said that while they wouldn’t miss the cold weather, they would miss the opportunity to come together and talk to members of the community.

“I’ve met some nice people out here that I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and even though sometimes it was cold, there was always this feeling of camaraderie,” said Susan M. Kinsella, an administrative coordinator in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology department.

All union members interviewed for the article said that they were very satisfied with the results of the negotiation.

“I wish it hadn’t taken so long, but I think it was a good and reasonable solution,” said Ceallaigh E. Reddy, a program administrator for the Harvard Law School Islamic Legal Studies Program. “I know the university has its considerations, and obviously the union members want to have a fair contract, and I think this ended up ultimately being reasonable for both sides.”

—Staff writer Christine Y. Cahill can be reached at Follow her on twitter at @cycahill16.