The latest round of negotiations between Harvard University and the school’s 750 striking dining services workers has ended in a “tentative agreement,” university officials said on Tuesday. The workers were demanding an annual income of at least $35,000 and resisting changes to their health benefits.
Harvard spokesperson Tania deLuzuriaga announced the agreement in an email to reporters early Tuesday morning. A statement from executive vice president Katie Lapp, addressed to “members of the Harvard Community,” followed, outlining the “agreement in principle” with the dining services workers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 26, on a new, five-year contract. Lapp’s letter continued:
Clearly, this has been a challenging period for many members of the Harvard community. Faculty, students, staff, and alumni have been affected by the protracted negotiation and work stoppage. I would like to convey our gratitude, on behalf of the University, to all those who showed patience at a time of disruption and inconvenience.
In particular, I would like to recognize managers at Harvard University Dining Services who worked around the clock to meet the needs of our students. There were challenges inherent in this effort, but managers demonstrated a commitment to the community that went above and beyond their daily responsibilities.
I also want to thank Harvard’s dining services workers for their patience and engagement during this period. The University has been unequivocal in its belief that dining services workers are valued employees and vital members of the Harvard community. We look forward to welcoming them back to work as soon as possible.
Finally, let me acknowledge that the events of recent weeks have been, at times, contentious. All Harvard faculty, students, and staff have a deep commitment to shared goals — educating citizen leaders, advancing teaching and learning, and pursuing knowledge that contributes to a better world. While there may have been disagreements at times in recent weeks, I hope that the resolution reached today will allow us to come together again as one community as we pursue Harvard’s academic mission.
“We are pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with Harvard University that our Bargaining Committee believes addresses all of the concerns of our more than 700 members on strike,” UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang said in a statement provided to Jezebel. “Our strike will continue until all members on strike have a chance to review the agreement and vote to ratify. We will disclose details of the agreement after this vote on Wednesday.”