Harvard finally reaches an agreement with HUDS workers

It’s all over

After weeks of a student-supported strike, HUDS workers have finally reached an agreement with Harvard.

Earlier this morning, Katie Lapp, executive vice president of Harvard, sent an email to the community confirming “an agreement in principle” with Local 26, the union HUDS workers belong to.

The email comes just one day after the largest student action in support of the strike took place on Monday, in which hundreds of students occupied the lobby of University Place, where negotiations took place.

Read the email in full below:

Dear Members of the Harvard Community:

I am pleased to report that Harvard has reached an agreement in principle with UNITE HERE Local 26, the union that represents Harvard’s dining services workers, on a new, five-year contract that represents a fair and reasonable resolution to negotiations.

The agreement, which addresses the main issues of wages and health care, will now be presented by Local 26 to its members for approval.

Throughout this negotiation, the University has sought a resolution that maintains superior compensation for our dining workers, acknowledging their role as integral members of the Harvard community. We also sought an agreement that recognizes the importance of carefully stewarding University finances as we pursue our academic mission in a period of constrained resources. We are confident that this agreement achieves both of these goals.

We could not have reached this point without the efforts of independent mediators Professor Lawrence Katz of Harvard and Professor Robert McKersie of MIT, as well as federal mediator Josh Flax, who dedicated many hours to helping all sides reach agreement. We are grateful for their contributions.

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.


Katie Lapp
Executive Vice President