Members of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers voted to ratify their new contract on Tuesday, marking the official end of the union’s longest ever negotiations with the University.
According to HUCTW Director Bill Jaeger, the unofficial results at press time were that approximately 97 percent of the 2,400 union members who voted chose to ratify the new contract.
“It’s really impressive that so many members of the union took [the vote] so seriously, and that’s the way people have responded through this whole struggle,” Jaeger said. “I think our members really care about the issues we’ve been working on and have a lot of energy and commitment.”
The University also reiterated its support for the contract as well as the positive relationship between both parties.
“We are very pleased that HUCTW members have supported this agreement, which we believe is fair for the University and the members of the HUCTW,” wrote Vice President for Human Resources Marilyn Hausammann in a statement 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.”
HUCTW’s constitution mandates that tentative contracts be confirmed by a vote of the members. Accordingly, the union has held a paper vote on every contract it has negotiated. Voting took place between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday at 70 different locations across Harvard’s main campus and off campus locations.
Both sides announced a tentative agreement in March after they have been negotiating since the old contract expired on July 1, 2012. The new contract includes a first year retroactive wage increase of 3.4 percent for the typical union member with at least one year of service at the University, followed by two more increases in the following two years.
The new contract does not provide a definitive solution to many of the health care issues central to the negotiations. Instead, it provides for the creation of a special committee on health care that will work on an ongoing basis.
Jaeger said that HUCTW has held approximately 60 meetings in the past two weeks to educate its members about the details of the contract and to promote discussion before the ratification vote.
Mary Medlin, who works in the Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology department, said that attending one of these meetings influenced her decision to ratify the contract.
“They explained the process and why they felt it was a fair contract...So that was the final tally for me,” Medlin said.
—Staff writer Christine Y. Cahill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @cycahill16.