Fact Sheet on HUCTW-Harvard Negotiations, January 2023   

What is up for negotiation in the HUCTW-Harvard contract talks?   

  • The current Agreement between the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) and Harvard University expired on September 30, 2022.  The union and management negotiating teams have agreed to extend the non-pay terms of the expiring Agreement while they continue to negotiate on a new contract.  The negotiations are covering pay, benefits, workplace policies, and contract language issues.   

What has happened in negotiations so far?   

  • After some preparatory meetings and training sessions, union and management teams began meeting regularly in May 2022.  Together, we have made some positive progress on important policy issues, such as Flexibility and Remote Work policies and Compensation for Extra Work.  However, discussions about pay increases for 2022 and the two following years have been difficult.  HUCTW and management negotiators have not been able to get close to agreement on a fair pay raise program during a time of extraordinarily high price inflation, and the negotiation meetings about pay have become increasingly tense.   

What are the difficult issues related to Pay?   

  • HUCTW negotiators want to negotiate pay increases that provide members with meaningful protection against the harmful impact of high inflation in 2022 and continuing inflationary pressures anticipated for 2023 and 2024.  Management representatives are more heavily focused on the question of how their pay offers compare with other employers in the wider job market, asserting that their proposals are strongly competitive with or surpassing the increase programs of other employers.  
  • HUCTW leaders are concerned that not enough focus is being given to members’ real life financial hardships, as management’s current offers on the table do not come close to addressing the inflation problem. In addition, current management salary increase proposals are lower than the average pay increases given by comparable employers.  

How high is inflation right now?   

  • The federal government’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the Boston Metropolitan Area increased 7% for the 12 months ending in November 2022.  The national CPI was up 7.1% for the 12 months ending in December 2022. In general, Boston-area inflation readings have been averaging about 7% over the last year.  

What are the negotiators trying to do in order to break the stalemate?   

  • Union and management negotiators agreed to begin working with a neutral mediator starting in November.  The mediator has facilitated a number of negotiation sessions in recent weeks, encouraging the parties to reframe interests and goals, reexamine relevant factual information, and consider alternative paths to resolution of the talks.  HUCTW leaders have also held a number of standouts and rallies, intended to raise awareness about the issues under negotiations and encourage Harvard community involvement in the struggle for solutions.     

 Who is included in HUCTW?   

  • HUCTW is made up of more than 5,000 staff working in all of Harvard’s offices, laboratories, libraries, museums, and clinics.  HUCTW members do skilled work in a variety of administrative, financial, research, IT, facilities, arts, and other technical functions, including many hundreds working in roles that directly support the work of Harvard faculty. HUCTW members are about 67% women and about 35% People of Color.