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Harvard Janitors Announce Strike Vote

By Brandon J. Dixon

Harvard’s janitors will vote on whether to give their bargaining committee the authority to call a strike if a contract agreement with the University is not reached by Nov. 15, according to a union spokesperson.

Eugenio H. Villasante, a spokesperson for 32BJ SEIU—the regional union that represents more than 700 of Harvard’s custodial workers and security guards stationed across Cambridge and Boston—wrote in an email that the vote will take place at noon Thursday at the Science Center. SEIU has been bargaining with the University since Oct. 7.

Their vote comes less than a month after Harvard’s dining service workers went on strike for 22 days in an effort to push through their proposals on health care and wage increases. Ultimately, the settlement agreed upon by HUDS and the University made it possible for full-time dining employees to make a $35,000 annual salary and did not result in increases to out-of-pocket health care expenses.

SEIU has thus far not provided specifics about their aims in this round of negotiations. Villasante has said previously that their aims are similar to those of HUDS, though he has not said how the dining workers’ settlement would affect SEIU’s negotiations.

“Broadly speaking, the main bread and butter issues are fair wage increases to keep up with the rising cost of living, maintaining affordable family health care and ensuring adequate funds for retirement,” Villasante wrote in an email.

University spokesperson Tania deLuzuriaga wrote in an email last week, when SEIU union members began demonstrating at locations around campus, that “Harvard has enjoyed a long and productive relationship with SEIU. We continue to negotiate in good faith towards a mutually beneficial agreement.”

—check thecrimson.com for updates

—Staff writer Brandon J. Dixon can be reached at brandon.dixon@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonJoDixon.

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