Employee participation through joint activity and joint union-management structures (where HUCTW staff and Harvard managers work together on matters of mutual concern) strengthens organizational performance and operations. In keeping with this idea, the University and the Union have created a number of subject-based, University-wide joint committees, allowing for regular union-management collaboration on significant ongoing issues. HUCTW members and leaders and Harvard managers and HR representatives serve together on these groups. Active joint committees are listed below:
Health Care Group
Health Care coverage is a critical component in maintaining a healthy, productive workforce; therefore, the Health Care Group (HCG) was established to ensure continuous conversation between the Union and the University. The HCG reviews data concerning trends in expenditures, cost sharing distribution and medical claims. Additionally, the HCG is specifically charged with resolving questions regarding copayments/deductibles, premium-sharing contribution percentage thresholds, review of premium rate setting methodology/analysis of surplus and deficit accounts as well as exploration of potential joint projects to reduce overall health care costs.
Joint Committee on the Bargaining Unit
The Joint Committee on the Bargaining Unit (JCBU) was created to help resolve questions around which Harvard staff members are eligible to be a part of the Union (the bargaining unit). The Committee develops criteria to determine whether a position is appropriately included in or excluded from the HUCTW bargaining unit. Based upon those criteria, the JCBU reviews and resolves disputes around bargaining unit status for individual positions and job groups. At present, the committee is primarily focused on determining which employees are “exempt” from overtime-eligibility (and therefore exempt from HUCTW membership) under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal statute that regulates employment and pay practices in the workplace.
Joint Committee on Benefits
The Joint Committee on Benefits (JCB) examines objectives and designs of benefits programs and monitors the performance in lights of the needs of individuals, the institution and its constituent parts. The JCB recommends new programs, amendments to existing programs and provides guidance on relevant administrative, procedural and communication of benefit matter. Lastly, the JCB reviews the financial status of benefits programs and recommends measures for maintaining fiscal balance within the fringe pool.
Joint Committee on Housing and Transportation
The Joint Committee on Housing and Transportation (JCHT) was created to explore and develop creative ways to address the economic pressures associated with working, commuting, and living in the greater Boston/Cambridge area. As well as meeting regularly to study and discuss these issues, the committee designs and oversees programming aimed at assisting employees with their housing and commuting arrangements. In collaboration with the Harvard University Employees Credit Union, the JCHT oversees three 0% interest loan programs to help union members with rental housing transitions, moving expenses, and unexpected home emergencies. The Committee also coordinates a fund that reimburses members for unusually high commuting costs, the Transportation Fund.
Joint Governance Coordinating Committee
In order to ensure that Union-Management partnership efforts remain strong and continue to grow, Harvard and HUCTW created the Joint Governance Coordinating Committee (JGCC) to oversee joint initiatives, including joint committees, joint councils, and problem solving teams. The JGCC is dedicated to increasing the visibility and effectiveness of union- management collaborations, building University-wide awareness of the benefits of joint work, as well as fostering greater success and achievement through the support, assessment, communication and documentation of joint initiatives.
Joint Work Security Committee
The Joint Work Security Committee (JWSC) manages the Work Security Program, which helps union members who are laid off from their Harvard jobs find new jobs at Harvard. The program provides union members with job search assistance (“case management”) and free skill building, as well as salary and benefit continuation as the union member looks for a job. The JWSC designs trainings for case managers and reviews and develops the case management guidelines. The committee also studies layoff treads and job placement data at Harvard, and designs trainings and strategies to promote the rehiring of laid-off staff. Additionally, the JWSC is responsible for deciding whether to extend a union member’s salary, benefits, and other Work Security assistance beyond the standard period provided for in the Personnel Manual.
Joint Working Group on Life-Cycle Programs
The Joint Working Group on Life-Cycle Programs (JWGLCP) was established to explore and address challenges that effect staff throughout their range of employment. The JWGLCP is primarily tasked with three topics- tuition assistance for dependents, elder care, and student debt assistance for staff. The group is staffed with union representatives, managers with relevant experience, and faculty advisors as appropriate.
University Joint Council
The University Joint Council (UJC) was designed to exchange and share information and perspectives, explore data and trends regarding University-wide matters or initiatives, in partnership.
University Joint Reclassification Committee
The University Joint Reclassification Committee (UJRC) oversees the job reclassification process on a University-wide basis. Union members are typically reclassified at the local level, working with their departmental manager and HR officer. However, if at the end of that process, there is disagreement about the reclassification decision, the union member may request UJRC involvement. In these cases, the UJRC investigates and makes binding decisions about job reclassification, and sometimes associated salary increases. The UJRC is also responsible for creating and updating University-wide generic job descriptions found on Harvard’s internal website, Harvie.
University Problem Solving Team & Regional Problem Solving Team
The University Problem Solving Team (UPST) oversees the HUCTW-Harvard problem resolution process, a process that replaces the formal grievance procedure traditionally used in many unionized settings. When an individual union member is unable to resolve a workplace problem locally, the union member may request the involvement of a problem-solving team. The goal of the process is to help the parties involved come to a mutually agreeable solution. The Regional Problem Solving Team (RPST) works with the parties during the first stage of the problem-solving process and, if the problem is still not resolved, the UPST works with the parties during the second stage of the problem-solving process. The UPST co-chairs also oversee and train the RPST and UPST members, and both teams meet monthly to review and learn from cases.