UNITE-HERE Gets First Contract At Tufts University

Image credit: Meredith Long/The Tufts Daily

BOSTON, MA—Nearly a year and several rallies after dining workers at Tufts University voted to unionize with UNITE-HERE, the union obtained its first contract with the university on Friday.

In mid-March, dining workers voted to give the union the right to call them out on strike.
“We are writing to share with you that the University and UNITE HERE, Local 26, a union that represents Tufts Dining Services employees on the Medford/Somerville campus and at the SMFA Café, have reached a tentative agreement on a fair and equitable contract,” Tufts University President Anthony P. Monaco and Patricia Campbell, Tufts University’s Executive Vice President wrote on Friday. “While some small matters remain to be resolved, we are confident that the agreement will stand and that the union will submit it to their membership for ratification in the near future”.

Tufts and UNITE-HERE issued a joint statement that stated:

“Tufts University and UNITE HERE Local 26 have reached an agreement on a contract for dining services employees that both the union and university consider to be fair and equitable. We are proud that good faith negotiations by both sides have reached a successful conclusion. We look forward to continued collaboration as we move ahead.”

The University has been committed to bargaining in good faith throughout these negotiations, during which we have adhered to our mission and emphasized the importance of quality, individual and institutional accountability, efficiency, flexibility and a safe and respectful work environment for all dining employees. We are proud of the agreement that we have negotiated, which includes:

A fair plan to increase base wages over four years.
Access to the dining union’s health plan, with an increased employer contribution for health insurance premiums. The union requested that the University also provide current dining employees with the one-time option of remaining in the University health plan at current rates, and we have agreed to do so.

The conversion of approximately 50 temporary employees to regular employee status.
Continuation of dining employees’ existing time-off benefits, which the union requested to retain unchanged.
Retention of the University’s right to subcontract.

This agreement comes after several months of hard work and good-faith commitment by both sides. The University anticipated that the bargaining of this first contract could take some time, as is typical, and we are pleased that formal negotiations have now been brought to a close. While working toward an agreement, the University heard from a number of community members, and we thank all those who took the time to share their concerns and comments with us. We appreciate your engagement on this important issue.

We especially want to reiterate our appreciation for our dining employees and all they do in support of our students and the Tufts community. We look forward to a collaborative and cooperative working relationship with them and the union going forward.


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