The National Labor Relations Board denied a petition seeking to decertify the union representing around 300 contracted security workers at the University, 32BJ Service Employees International Union.
After months of impasse, Harvard security guards voted last week to ratify a contract offer from Securitas, which employs around 300 contracted security workers who are stationed across the school.
Dozens of Harvard security guards stood posted at the Science and Engineering Complex and Widener Gate for hours last week, but they weren’t on duty. Rather, they were there to engage and educate undergraduates in their push for a new contract before Commencement in May.
Union Representing Harvard Security Guards Marred by Internal Tensions as Contract Negotiations Falter
Tensions within 32BJ — which represents around 300 Harvard security workers and 700 custodians — have come to a head in recent months, with the union’s bargaining committee openly denouncing its leadership.
More than 80 custodians, security guards, local officials, and union supporters marched in Harvard Yard Tuesday to demand higher wage increases from the University.
Harvard security guards ratified a temporary, year-long contract with third-party contractor Securitas on Dec. 30, 2020, maintaining healthcare benefits and securing a one-time bonus during the pandemic.
Several current and former security guards at Harvard allege that their union, 32BJ Service Employees International Union, has not adequately represented them in employer disputes, citing poor communication and confidentiality breaches.
When Arlene Yarde, a full-time Securitas guard at Harvard Medical School, was called into her supervisor’s office two years ago to discuss a tweet she had posted, she could not anticipate the upheaval that would follow their conversation.
The letter of termination claims that Bartuah’s behavior violated several company policies including leaving his post without “proper relief,” falsifying company records, and engaging in “carelessness or negligence in the performance of an assigned duty,” as well as other violations.
School of Public Health security guard Joseph G. Bartuah filed a complaint with the Massachusetts State Attorney General’s Office earlier this month, alleging his supervisors at Securitas, which provides security services for the University, retaliated against him after he raised workplace concerns to them.