Cambridge, MA—The janitors who clean and maintain buildings and facilities at Harvard University reached a tentative, 4-year agreement an hour after the contract expired. The deal, subject to ratification by the membership, provides a 12.5% increase in wages over the life of the contract and secures employer-paid healthcare. Janitors will make $24.67 an hour by the end of the contract. The agreement also includes language to promote full-time work in a college where nearly 30% of the janitors still work part time.
“When hard-working men and women win good jobs with decent wages and benefits, it’s a win for families, communities, employers, and the economy as a whole,” said Roxana Rivera, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU. “The service workers are rightfully proud of the work they do and are determined that these jobs remainstrong jobs, with good wages and benefits that create an entry into the middle class.”
Negotiations for a multi-year contract began on Friday, October 7 between Harvard University and 32BJ SEIU, the largest property service union in the country. The contract covers over 700 custodians who maintain buildings throughout Harvard campuses in Cambridge and Boston.
With a $34 billion endowment, Harvard University surely has the means to continue offering good jobs to the hardworking Bostonians who makeHarvard a great university. According to Harvard’s most recent financial statements (FY2015), the university has $4 billion total unrestricted net assets in its General Operating Account, and over $10 billion including unrestricted endowment funds. Combined, total net assets attributable to the university reached $44.6 billion. Land, buildings and equipment were worthanother $6.2 billion.
Costs continue to rise in the Boston area. Since 1990, the cost of living has increased by 68 percent, making Boston the 10th most expensive city in the US. While the city came out of the Great Recession in much better shape that other big metropolises, not all of our residents have been able to share in the prosperity they help create. It is increasingly difficult to live and work a middle-class job and be able to afford to live here.
With more than 155,000 members in 11 states and Washington DC, including 18,000 members in the Boston Area, 32BJ is the largest property service workers union in the country.