Community’s Active Engagement
An Open Letter from the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers
This Open Letter from HUCTW leaders is long, but we urge you to read it in its entirety, to learn about the issues under discussion and the sticking points in negotiations. The three policy areas in which HUCTW negotiators have encountered significant resistance from the University are the salary increase program, health care, and the bargaining unit.
HUCTW and Harvard have negotiated 23 annual increases for members of our Union since 1989. The current talks on a raise program for July 1, 2012, may be the most complicated and difficult to date.
- Harvard has maintained a clean balance sheet (no deficit spending) during every year of the financial crisis, from Fiscal Year 2008 through FY 2011.
- In the aggregate, Harvard schools and departments have abundant reserves, well in excess of accepted standards for sufficient “rainy day” funds.
- The endowment has regained much of the value it lost in 2008, enough so that endowment funds distributed to the schools for operations have increased significantly (by 4% and 5%) in the past two years.
- Bold plans have been announced for renovating the undergraduate residential houses and for restarting construction of a new Allston campus.
- Earlier this year, the University committed $30 million to EdX – a collaboration with MIT to offer courses online and free to the public.
- The number of staff jobs posted on ASPIRE (Harvard’s online job-posting system) has reached record high levels. At this writing, there are nearly 430 new positions advertised on ASPIRE.
- Although the officially announced salary program for non-union “exempt” staff provided for 2% raises last year, HUCTW analysis of data on average exempt salaries shows that, among those non-union staff, the average full-time salary grew by 3.1% last year. On top of that, exempt staff received an additional 1% in bonuses for last year. The average HUCTW full-time rate increased by 3.0% in the same period, with minimal bonus activity.
- Union leaders believe that Harvard’s plan to introduce new coinsurance for retirees with an “out-of-pocket” maximum of $1,000 per year is too great a cost for lower-income retirees.
- HUCTW negotiators are proposing changes in the formula for employee contributions to monthly health care premiums – changes that would be cost-neutral for the University. We support a more progressive plan in which the premium burden on lower-income employees could be eased by enacting a small increase in premium rates for Harvard’s highest paid employees.
- Union leaders are willing to agree to incremental increases in copayments for active employees, but we are insisting that they should be part of a balanced package that recognizes differences in income among members of our community.
- HUCTW is also presenting important proposals for collaborative educational efforts to reduce health care costs by supporting better health consumer decisions and expanding wellness programs.
HUCTW Executive Board and Organizing Staff
|Tasha Williams, President
Laura Ebenstein, Vice President
Pam Mullaney, Treasurer
Lynn Wang DeLacey, Secretary
Geraldine Barney, Observatory
Joslyn Evans, AAD
Frank Garcia, UFS
Andrea Kupski-Keane, FAS
Margaret Moore DeChicojay, GSD
Mike Piantigini, HMS
Siobhan Saint Surin, HSPH
Lesley Schoenfeld, HLS
Esther Simmons, HBS
Steve Sweeney, UIS
Emily Vides, FAS
Harvey Willson, HSDM
Kate Zirpolo Flynn, SEAS