Cambridge City

Policy Order
POR 2020 #262
Order Adopted as Amended
Nov 16, 2020 5:30 PM

Resolution in Support of Harvard Janitors


Department:City Clerk's Office, DSSponsors:Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, Vice Mayor Alanna Mallon, Councillor Marc C. McGovern, Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Councillor Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Councillor Patricia Nolan, Councillor Quinton Zondervan, Councillor Timothy J. Toomey
Category:Policy Order


  1. Printout



On November 15, 2020, the union contract for 700 Harvard University janitors was due to expire, jeopardizing the livelihoods of these 700 essential workers in the midst of a global pandemic; and




These 700 workers, represented by SEIU 32BJ, have been working to keep Harvard University safe and clean throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, even as janitorial and security workers have been among those hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic; and




During the ongoing contract extension discussions, the janitors and the 300 security workers who are also represented by 32BJ have been seeking the following assurances from Harvard University:

·         Job security that recognizes that, as Harvard looks ahead to the Spring semester, it is imperative that no workers (whether employed directly by the University or indirectly through a third party contractor) should be laid off, as such layoffs would jeopardize the safety and cleanliness of the campus and would place hundreds of families at great risk of slipping into poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity in the midst of a global pandemic;


·         An economic improvement for 2021 that recognizes the contribution of Harvard’s janitors and security workers as essential workers, and that provides a one year agreement to allow time for a more stable environment to be realized; and




It is imperative that Harvard University support all its workers, from the world-class professors that teach in its classrooms to the janitors that clean those same classrooms, as this community seeks to pull together in weathering the worst of this public health and intertwined economic crisis; and




As one of the pillars of the Cambridge community, Harvard University helps set the tone for how all workers in this city can and should be treated, Harvard has the resources to ensure that all of its workers are treated with fairness and are paid family-sustaining wages, and this has never been more critical than during the public health and related economic crisis presented by Covid-19; now therefore be it




That the City Council formally goes on record in standing firmly in support of the Harvard University janitors and custodians represented by SEIU 32BJ who are seeking a contract extension, and that the City Council formally goes on record in urging that Harvard University commit to extending the pay policy contract for all 700 janitors to guarantee job security and economic improvements for these essential workers heading into the coming year; and be it further




That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to forward this resolution to Lawrence Bacow, President of Harvard University, and to representatives of SEIU 32BJ, on behalf of the entire City Council.



Meeting History

Nov 16, 2020 5:30 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting
draft Draft

ad all councillors a co-sponsors

YEAS:Dennis J. Carlone, Patricia Nolan, Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Alanna Mallon, Marc C. McGovern, Sumbul Siddiqui, E. Denise Simmons, Timothy J. Toomey, Quinton Zondervan