Harvard’s custodial workers have voted to ratify the agreement their union reached with the University last week, ending a relatively short round of contract talks in comparison to some of Harvard’s other campus unions.
The workers voted 430-105 in favor of ratifying the contract, according to Eugenio H. Villasante, spokesperson for 32BJ SEIU—the regional union that represents Harvard’s custodial workers and some of its security guards. The new contract features modest wage increases and changes to the workers’ health benefits. Thirteen votes were voided because union representatives could not find the voters’ names in the union’s membership database, according to Villasante.
Under the new contract, wages for Harvard’s janitors will increase 12.5 percent by the end of the four-year life of the agreement, bringing the average salary of the union’s workers up to $24.61 from $21.89 per hour, according to a press release the union disseminated the night that the then-tentative agreement was reached. Additionally, the contract “includes language to promote full-time work.”
In terms of health care, the agreement “secures employer-paid” health benefits, according to the press release. Under the union’s current contract, SEIU workers do not receive their benefits directly from the University but rather from a fund SEIU maintains to which Harvard contributes.
SEIU has been bargaining with Harvard since Oct. 7, just days after Harvard’s dining services workers launched their 22-day strike. Their new contract will expire in four years.
Another campus union, Harvard University Security Parking and Museum Guards Union—which represents approximately 80 workers at Harvard’s Art Museums—is still in contract talks with the University.
—Staff writer Brandon J. Dixon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonJoDixon.