Union, Harvard Aim for Openness

Negotiation topics announced jointly in effort to bolster transparency

In a joint statement issued on Monday afternoon, the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers and the University announced the topics currently being discussed in negotiations  in an effort to maintain a sense of transparency in the process, according to HUCTW Director Bill Jaeger.

“The joint statement represents an effort by the Union and the University to make the negotiating process as transparent and as engaging for our members and members of the community as we can, while at the same time protecting the process with some confidentiality,” Jaeger said.

In addition to a central “Main Table” discussion focusing on economic issues, members of HUCTW and the University have broken up into five Working Groups to discuss “policy questions of mutual interest”, according to the statement.

The five Working Groups—Article I and Employee Participation, Bargaining Unit Questions, Career Mobility, Layoffs and Work Security, and Mutually Beneficial Cost Savings—are currently engaged in discussions which will be integrated into Main Table conversations, according to the statement.

The statement made almost no reference to the University’s current financial difficulties—which caused the layoffs of about 100 HUCTW members in the past year—except for a mention of “some negative external factors.”


The statement also referenced the history of good relations between the Union and the University, which was the subject of an open letter the Union sent out in March, marking the beginning of negotiations.

Before negotiations began, University and HUCTW negotiators took part in training sessions on “effective negotiations and Union-management partnership,” according to the statement.

The University and the Union began designing the format for negotiations earlier this winter so as to ensure that the negotiations are productive, the statement said.

“The structure that we designed for the negotiations is working well,” Jaeger said. “We’re taking on the issues that are set up in that structure with good energy and making some progress.”

HUCTW and the University plan to arrive at a contract agreement by June 30.

HUCTW ratified its first contract with Harvard in 1989 after a protracted struggle to gain recognition from the University.

—Staff writer Sofia E. Groopman can be reached at  —Staff writer Tara W. Merrigan can be reached at


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