We hope your new year is off to a good start. As you likely know, our current Agreement with Harvard has a one-year term and is set to expire on September 30, 2022. This means we need to begin planning our next round of contract negotiations with the University now in order to have a new Agreement in place by October 1. As was discussed in 2021 communications, HUCTW aims to negotiate a longer, multi-year contract in 2022, which also means we will be pursuing a fuller, broader agenda.
Negotiating a contract that will determine our salary increases, enhancements in programs and benefits, and other key policies for the next several years is an exciting prospect, but it is also a challenging one that will require significant participation from HUCTW members to achieve the best contract possible. It will be crucial for members to be informed and involved at every stage of the process.
Although some recent forecasts for the COVID-19 pandemic suggest that safety measures may be eased in the coming months, we saw this past year that campus safety restrictions prevented many of the in-person discussions between HUCTW leaders and members that typically take place during contract negotiations. To ensure that members stay connected to the process regardless of campus disruptions and remote work arrangements, we will hold frequent Zoom meetings and provide frequent written communications, and we will work to find other creative, safe ways that all members can be directly involved in the process.
Next Steps for You:
In spring, HUCTW members will be asked to participate in the planning stages of negotiations in the following ways:
Voting for 2022 Negotiating Team Representatives:
The HUCTW negotiating team will be comprised of one union member elected from each of the five “regions” of the University, who will join elected HUCTW officers, and other HUCTW leaders to participate in contract talks with the University. All members work in one of these five regions, which include: (1) Central Administration (2) FAS Sciences (3) FAS Arts (4) The Professional Schools and (5) The Longwood Medical Area Schools. All members were sent a more detailed email about the Negotiating Team election last week and this information is also posted on the elections page of the HUCTW website. The online negotiation team election will take place on March 8 – 9 and each signed member will be emailed a ballot for the relevant race in their region of the campus, if that race is contested.
Coming to a Lunchtime Union Meeting:
Starting in March, HUCTW leaders will invite all members to a Zoom meeting in their department or school, typically during lunchtime, to start planning for negotiations. Members can discuss their priorities and concerns, share ideas, ask questions, and learn more about how negotiations work. Although we will send out regular written updates throughout the talks, union negotiators will also continue to hold these meetings frequently throughout the bargaining process as well. Regular confidential union meetings allow members and leaders to speak candidly about what’s happening at the table and strategize about potential next steps.
Taking the 2022 Negotiations Survey:
Although HUCTW organizers talk with individual members every day about their working lives, another fundamental way that we gather valuable guidance and information for negotiations is through an online member survey. The survey helps Union negotiators to develop a shared understanding about what issues are most important to members and which aspects of a given issue are the most pressing. Negotiators use this information to help determine what topics are on the table, and to support Union ideas and proposals with data and examples during the talks. The survey will be sent to all members by email in the coming weeks.
Negotiating a union contract is an exciting and challenging process that needs widespread member engagement to be successful – please take the time to participate in these events described above, each of which plays a crucial role in shaping negotiations. And please keep an eye out for other upcoming opportunities to get involved in the process! Don’t hesitate to contact your HUCTW organizer or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any ideas, questions, or concerns you’d like to share or discuss.