Harvard’s employees are an essential part of the University, yet the dynamics and structure of employment at Harvard are not well-understood. During the 2019-2020 academic year, roughly 13,000 staff supported more than 23,000 students studying at Harvard.
Staff who work on Harvard’s campuses are not solely employed by Harvard. Many of the University’s schools hire employees from outside contractors. Of the ten unions representing Harvard’s workers, two unions — one representing custodians and security guards, and another representing dining services workers — include both directly-employed and contracted employees.
The Crimson set out to make a series of maps that show the span of staff across the University’s campuses and answer three questions:
• Where are workers based?
• Who employs them?
• What employment protections do they have during the pandemic?
Data was collected from unions and the University’s Office of Labor and Employee Relations. These maps are not a complete catalog of all workers at the University; for example, they exclude non-unionized employees, such as faculty, and counts may vary slightly over time.
When specific locations were unable to be determined, staff are mapped at the central office of their administrative unit. Within labels on the maps, “Direct” indicates the number of workers directly employed by Harvard at a certain location within that union; contractor names are included when available. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences includes both the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
These maps will be periodically updated.
The Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers — a branch of the national American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union — covers a plethora of positions in libraries, museums, offices, and labs. With more than 5,000 members, it is the largest union at Harvard. All members are directly hired by the University and are receiving 70 percent pay if involuntarily idled by the pandemic, per the excused emergency absence policy.
Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Automobile Workers — which represents over 4,500 students — ratified its first contract on July 1, 2020. Their contract defines student workers as all students employed by the University who provide instructional services and graduate students who are employed as research assistants.
The United Automobile Workers is the parent union of HGSU-UAW and represents more than 70,000 academic workers at universities in the U.S., in addition to more than 330,000 workers in other industries in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada.
A local branch of the Service Employees International Union — a national union representing roughly 2.7 million workers — 32BJ represents custodians and contracted security guards at Harvard. 32BJ SEIU represents 700 custodial staff directly hired by Harvard’s Facilities Maintenance Operations or contracted through six outside custodial companies, as well as 300 security guards contracted under Securitas North America, a division of a multinational Swedish company with 370,000 employees worldwide. The union also represents roughly 20 employees at Harvard’s arboretum.
32BJ recently ratified two year-long extensions of its contracts, one for directly-hired custodians and one for guards contracted under Securitas.
Local 26 is a branch of UNITE HERE representing Harvard’s approximately 750 dining workers. The union covers workers directly employed by Harvard University Dining Services and those contracted under Restaurant Associates, a national dining services firm. UNITE HERE represents roughly 300,000 workers in the U.S. and Canada, mostly in hospitality services.
The Area Trades Council encompasses four unions representing approximately 270 operating electricians, plumbers and gasfitters, carpenters, and operating engineers — respectively, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 103, Plumbers and Gasfitters Local Union No. 12, New England Regional Council of Carpenters Local 51, and Local Union 877 International Union of Operating Engineers. All members are directly hired by the University and receive 70 percent pay if involuntarily idled by the pandemic, per the emergency excused absence policy.
The Harvard University Security, Parking, and Museum Guards Union represents approximately 70 parking monitors and museum attendants. In recent years, it has pushed for a merger with HUCTW. All members are directly hired by the University and receive 70 percent pay if involuntarily idled by the pandemic, per the emergency excused absence policy.
HUSPMGU recently ratified a year-long extension of its contract.
The Harvard University Police Association represents 50 patrol officers on the University’s police force. HUPA’s last contract expired in November 2020.
—Staff writer Cara J. Chang can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @CaraChang20.
—Staff writer Meimei Xu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @meimeixu7.