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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 624: T-369: Vt-173

Records of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, 1967-2005


Records of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, including correspondence, administrative files, organizing campaign material, membership, contract negotiations, publicity, photographs, audiotapes, videotapes, and memorabilia.


  • Creation: 1967-2005


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. To protect privacy of individuals, certain records are closed for fifty years past the most recent date of creation in the file, group of files, or series, as noted in the finding aid. Closed files generally contain staff lists and other personnel-related records (#3.10, 4.5, 4.8, 9.9, 10.13, 18.4-18.7, 26.9-26.12, 32.4, 32.13, 34.1-36.11, 40.1-40.6, 45.7, 45.11, 45.12, 77.8, 80.1, 80.2, 80.8, 87.7, 87.8, 103.1-103.19, 104.1-105.23, 106.7-107.11, F+D.1-F+D.2, OD.2). In addition, Bill Jaeger's alphabetical files (#13.1-16.33) are closed until January 1, 2047, and membership and staff records (#47.1-75.5) are closed until January 1, 2055. The audio has all been digitized. An appointment is necessary to use the videotapes.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


58.4 linear feet ((115 file boxes, 2 half file boxes, 6 oversize boxes) plus 4 folio+ folders, 2 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder, 43 photo folders, 1 folio photograph folder, 20 slides, 36 audiotapes, 3 videotapes, 2 objects, and electronic records)

This collection contains the records of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW). Where possible, original folder titles have been maintained and appear in quotation marks. Remaining titles were created by the processors. Unless otherwise noted, files are arranged alphabetically within subseries.

Series I, ADMINISTRATION, 1974-2003 (#1.1-16.33), contains records documenting the history of HUCTW and its internal functions. It is arranged in three subseries.

Subseries A, History and organization, 1974-ca.2000 (#1.1-3.16), contains correspondence and other documents related to the history and development of HUCTW. Included are chronologies; a thesis and related support material such as notes from interviews with HUCTW leadership; by-laws; sample constitutions; and minutes and notes relating to the organization's structure.

Subseries B, General, 1975-2003 (#3.17-12.9), contains AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employee) files, including United Staff Union material (a union for employees of AFSCME); appointment books and other contacts; awards and honors for Kris Rondeau; conference material; general correspondence; financial records; internal election material regarding union representatives; letters and postcards to union leadership from friends and other supporters; meeting minutes and notes of Bill Jaeger, Bill Jaeger, Martha Robb, and others; information regarding the HUCTW offices; and training material for union organizers.

Subseries C, William (Bill) Jaeger, 1985-1996 (#13.1-16.33), contains alphabetical subject files created by union organizer Bill Jaeger. This subseries contains records related to other series in the collection, including membership meeting (Series III), subject files (Series V), and joint council files (Series VI). The files are arranged in their original order and are closed until January 1, 2047.

Series II, ORGANIZING CAMPAIGNS AND RELATED, 1967-1989 (#17.1-46.10), contains records relating to the various union drives beginning with the initial organizing efforts at the Harvard Medical Area, and culminating in university-wide union representation.

Subseries A, Early organizing and first Medical Area drive, 1967-1977 (#17.1-21.14), contains records relating to the early organizing efforts at the Harvard Medical Area. Included are various committee files, including meeting minutes and agendas of the Committee on the Status of Women and the Harvard Medical Area Employee Organizing Committee; National Labor Relations Board documentation regarding appropriateness of the Medical School as a bargaining unit; bulletins of the Harvard Medical Area Women's Group; and general correspondence, reports, clippings, and notes. Records are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Second Medical Area drive and expansion to main campus, 1977-1985 (#21.15-27.5), includes reports; general correspondence; letters from Harvard University administration; meeting notes; publicity; flyers; and other organizing material related to the second union vote and transition from District 65, UAW representation in the Harvard Medical Area to representation of the entire University support staff. This subseries also contains legal files, such as transcripts and testimony relating to Harvard University's conduct during the election and appeal to the National Labor Relations Board. Records are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries C, All-campus campaign, 1985-1988 (#27.6-42.6), documents HUCTW's third organizing push and final union election at Harvard University, as well as HUCTW's separation from UAW and affiliation with AFSCME. Included are agreements; a large collection of anti-union material from Harvard University and correspondence and notes by HUCTW in response; general correspondence files regarding various campaign efforts; endorsements from University faculty, local and state politicians, and others; legal documents regarding the NLRB bargaining-unit determination; letters of union support to HUCTW staff and volunteers; letters to Harvard President Derek Bok urging support for HUCTW; meeting notes; memoranda; material on union neutrality; notes on organizing strategy; other organizing material, including volunteer schedules and informational packets carried by individual organizers; and notes regarding specific organizing areas, such as the Harvard Medical School. The records also include rally sign-up sheets and transcripts of remarks and speeches by Kris Rondeau. Records are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries D, Post-election transition, 1988-1989 (#42.7-46.10), contains records relating to union organizing and establishment immediately following the May 17, 1988, election. Transition files include correspondence; direct mail letters to support staff regarding legal and organizing matters; reports; and flyers regarding events and rallies. Of particular note are legal files, including correspondence and proceedings, regarding Harvard University's complaint to the National Labor Relations Board arguing the legitimacy of the election. See also Series IV, Subseries A for additional transition materials. Records are arranged alphabetically.

Series III, MEMBERS AND STAFF, ca.1980-2004, undated (#47.1-75.5, F+D.1-F+D.2), contains files relating to specific University staff and union members, and includes salary and grade levels, membership status, and individual workplace issues. This series is closed until January 1, 2055.

Subseries A, Issues and grievances, 1982-2004 (#47.1-51.4), includes specific staff grievance files and Union representatives' working files relating to issues, such as grievance procedures, job reclassification, and departmental reorganizations. Included are meeting notes and correspondence with staff and administrators. Of note are Bill Jaeger's working files, containing lists; notes; correspondence; draft letters; and settlement and agreement pertaining to the University's violation of casual employment policies and the revised policy framework negotiated with the Union. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Membership meetings,1990-2001 (#51.5-51.10), contains mostly attendee lists, as well as notes, meeting handouts, and agendas of university-wide membership meetings. Files are arranged chronologically.

Subseries C, Members/staff data, ca.1980-2002, undated (#52.1-60.10, F+D.1-F+D.2), includes membership cards and lists and information on staff, including potential members; staff who were promoted, transferred or terminated; eligible voters; and new hires. Also included are letters, applications, notes, and lists relating to recipients of the Union's daycare awards, which provided assistance for childcare costs, and the HU/HUCTW Education Fund, which assisted support staff in their career development and educational pursuits. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries D, Members/staff surveys, 1982-2002, undated (#60.11-75.5), contains surveys and related materials used by the Union to assess the issues important to members. In addition to drafts and completed surveys, this subseries contains correspondence, summaries of survey results and final reports, and related notes. Also included are University-initiated staff surveys, such as those by the Opinion Research Corporation and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Files are arranged chronologically.

Series IV, CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS, 1988-2004 (#76.1-83.4), contains files relating to Harvard University and HUCTW negotiations for staff contracts, including information on issues discussed and contract language decisions. Please note that while most of the agreements were renegotiated fully every three years, in 1998, the 1995 contract was extended to 2001. This series has been divided into four subseries by contract year.

Subseries A, 1989 contract, 1988-1991 (#76.1-79.2), includes final agreements, meeting notes, research materials, correspondence, and direct mail letters to union members. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, 1992 contract, 1991-1993 (#79.3-80.17), includes final agreements, meeting notes, research materials, correspondence, and direct mail letters to union members. Of note are files relating to the slow and contentious progress with negotiations for the 1992 contract, and include materials regarding rallies and the garnering of outside support from faculty and legislators. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries C, 1995 contract, 1993-1998 (#81.1-82.7), includes final agreements, meeting notes, research materials, and correspondence. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries D, 2001 contract, 2000-2002 (#82.8-83.2), includes final agreements, meeting notes, research materials, and correspondence. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries E, 2004 contract, 2003-2004 (#83.3-83.4), includes correspondence and pre-negotiation information. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Series V, SUBJECT FILES, 1971-2005, undated (#84.1-95.13), contains records organized by specific topics of interest to the Union and support staff. The types of records range from general information and research materials on various union and workplace issues to records generated specifically about or in response to Harvard University policies and HUCTW action. Materials include clippings, articles, published materials, sections of contracts from other unions, correspondence, reports, and Harvard University data in areas such as benefits and finance. Of note are records relating to the organizing efforts at other universities and institutions, including materials regarding union member activism in support of organizing at Yale University. Many of the records in this series may have been collected or generated as part of contract negotiation work. Some issues covered in this series overlap with those in other series. The files are arranged alphabetically.

Series VI, COMMITTEES AND JOINT COUNCILS, 1988-2004 (#96.1-107.13), contains correspondence, meeting agendas, meeting minutes, notes, and other working files of HUCTW committees and joint councils of HUCTW and Harvard University. Items contained in joint council files evidence collaborative HUCTW and Harvard University working groups, which focused on targeted employee issues such as hiring, communications, and work and family matters. Working files from the University Joint Reclassification Committee, which include correspondence, meeting agendas, notes and other material discussing specific employees, salaries, and jobs, are closed until January 1, 2054. The records are arranged alphabetically by committee or joint council.

Series VII, PUBLICATIONS AND RELATED, 1973-2001 (#107.14-114.14, E.1), contains publications and related working files, including correspondence, notes, and drafts that were created by HUCTW or affiliated unions or union members. The files are arranged in two subseries.

Subseries A, Personnel Manual and related, 1989-2001 (#107.14-113.1), contains the working files and final version of the manual. The manual was produced in 1989 through a joint effort of Harvard University and HUCTW. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Newsletters and other publications, 1973-1999 (#113.2-114.14, E.1), includes publications and related working files. HUCTW's web site is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection service (WAX); searchable archived versions of the web site will be available through this finding aid. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Series VIII, PUBLICITY, 1974-2001 (#114.15-116.16), contains articles, newsclippings, and press releases. Many of the articles focus on the organizing efforts of HUCTW and Kris Rondeau, as well as the strong opposition to the union from the Harvard University administration.

Series IX, PHOTOGRAPHS AND AUDIOVISUAL MATERIAL, 1976-2000 (#PD.1-PD.46, T-369.1 - T-369.37, Vt-173.1 - Vt-173.3), contains photographs, audiocassettes, and videotapes arranged in two subseries.

Subseries A, Photographs, 1976-1997, undated (#PD.1-PD.46), includes images of HUCTW staff, organizers, and other supporters; union rallies and special events; and images capturing Election Day when HUCTW became an official union of Harvard University. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Audiocassettes and videotapes, 1986-2000, undated (#T-369.1 - T-369.37, Vt-173.1 - Vt-173.3), includes news reports from local television and radio stations; anti-union lectures presented by Harvard administrator Anne H. Taylor; anti-union response training lectures presented by Kris Rondeau; and a set of interviews of HUCTW organizers conducted in 2000 by Harvard student William Winslow Erickson as part of his undergraduate thesis research. Interviewees include Joie Gelband, Marie Manna, and Martha Robb. There is no T-369, reel 3. Related files can be found in Series I, Subseries A.

Series X, MEMORABILIA AND OVERSIZED, ca.1974-1995, undated (#117OB-122OB, 123.1m-123.3m, Mem.1-Mem.2, F+D.1-F+D4, OD.1-OD.2, SD.1), contains objects and oversized material arranged in two subseries.

Subseries A, Memorabilia, 1974-1989, undated (#117OB-122OB, 123.1m-123.3m, Mem.1-Mem.2), includes large banners used by HUCTW during rallies and other events; Union buttons; an AFSCME basecall cap; and a convention badge of Yvette Rheault.

Subseries B, Oversized, 1977-1995, undated (#F+D.1-F+D.4, OD.1-OD.2, SD.1), includes posters and election ballots.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database.


Labor organizing of clerical and technical workers at Harvard University dates to the early 1970s in the Harvard Medical Area. Frustrated by poor treatment and low wages, a group of women research assistants, graduate students, and faculty members began meeting to discuss workplace conditions affecting women. Led by laboratory assistant Leslie Sullivan, graduate student Norma Swenson, and Associate Dean for Student Affairs Mary Howell, the Harvard Medical School Women’s Group challenged sexism at Harvard. That effort would soon splinter, leading Sullivan to focus her efforts on improving workplace conditions for all clerical and technical staff in the Harvard Medical area. She was supported by organizers including Marlene Goldman, Edie Brickman, Kristin Mahon, Jeanne Lafferty, John Rees, Jeremy Pool, Richard Pendleton, Drago Clifton, and later, Kristine (Kris) Rondeau, a research assistant at the Harvard School of Public Health. Sullivan and Rondeau met at an organizing committee meeting in 1977. Rondeau’s dedication and skill soon elevated her to a leadership role in the fifteen-year effort to organize the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW), which represents all support staff, including secretaries, library and laboratory assistants, and accounting clerks, among many others. Leaders of the HUCTW campaign included Maria Manna, Martha Robb, Jeanne Lafferty, and William (Bill) Jaeger; many other organizers volunteered their time. On May 17, 1988, approximately 3,400 employees - 82 percent of whom were women - voted in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) -sanctioned election to be represented by the HUCTW, an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The election made HUCTW the largest union of clerical and technical workers at any private university in the United States.

The following chronology provides a brief history of the successful organizing efforts:

  • Early 1970sEmployees in the Harvard Medical Area begin to consider forming a union, starting a process which would culminate more than 15 years later with the certification of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers.
  • 1974A group of Medical Area employees embark upon a union search to assist them in organizing. District 65, a national union with thousands of members in New England, is chosen.
  • 1975Harvard-District 65 supporters petition for an election at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Harvard disputes the definition of the "bargaining unit" as the Medical Area only, and the election is delayed for two years.
  • May 13, 1977The NLRB finds that the Medical School campus is indeed an appropriate bargaining unit.
  • June 29, 1977First election. In an NLRB-certified election, employees vote against forming a union, 436 to 346.
  • 1979District 65 becomes part of the United Auto Workers (UAW).
  • April 9, 1981Second election. The union loses 390 to 328.
  • August 1981The union files an unfair labor practices charge against Harvard for its conduct during the second election. The NLRB rules that the election should be set aside and a new election held. Harvard appeals and the decision is overturned.
  • May 1983The union petitions for a third election. Once again, Harvard disputes the appropriateness of the bargaining unit, claiming the appropriate unit is the whole campus, not just the Medical School Area.
  • March 1984The NLRB reverses its previous decision and defines the bargaining unit as being university support staff from the entire campus.
  • August 1985The union organizing staff, led by Kris Rondeau, decide to disaffiliate from the UAW due to irreconcilable differences over organizing principles and strategies. Organizers create the new, independent Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW). The HUCTW staff continue organizing without pay for the next 18 months.
  • January 1987HUCTW agrees to affiliate with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
  • March 1988HUCTW/AFSCME petitions NLRB for an election.
  • May 17, 1988Third election. Approximately 3,400 employees from six campuses vote to be represented by the HUCTW. The union wins 1530 to 1486. Shortly thereafter, Harvard files a complaint with the NLRB about HUCTW's election day activities and hearings before an administrative law judge ensue.
  • October 1988The administrative law judge rules strongly in favor of the union, upholding the election results and proclaiming Harvard's charges as "frivolous."
  • November 4, 1988Harvard President Derek Bok recognizes the union as the representative of the clerical and technical workers. In a letter to the Harvard commmunity he states, "I will work to make this relationship as constructive and harmonious as possible."
  • November 10, 1988HUCTW/AFSCME is officially certified by the NLRB.
  • December 1988 - January 1989A 60-day transition period begins, giving union activists and Harvard administration an opportunity to begin a new relationship founded on mutual trust and cooperation.
  • February 1989Negotiations begin for the first agreement, with 70 elected union members participating.
  • June 1989Members of HUCTW ratify a three-year contract with 94% in favor.
  • October 1989The contract is signed, and the union votes to ratify HUCTW by-laws.
  • November 2, 1989HUCTW members elect their first campus-wide officers, a 13-member Executive Board, and members of 26 Joint Councils.
  • February 14, 1990Union representatives are elected in every department and area of the campus.


The collection is arranged in ten series:

  1. Series I. Administration, 1974-2003 (#1.1-16.33)
  2. Series II. Organizing campaigns and related, 1967-1989 (#17.1-46.10)
  3. Series III. Members and staff, ca.1980-2004, undated (#47.1-75.5, F+D.1-F+D.2)
  4. Series IV. Contract negotiations, 1988-2004 (#76.1-83.4)
  5. Series V. Subject files, 1971-2005, undated (#84.1-95.13)
  6. Series VI. Committees and joint councils, 1988-2004 (#96.1-107.13)
  7. Series VII. Publications and related, 1973-2001 (#107.14-114.14, E.1)
  8. Series VIII. Publicity, 1974-2001 (#114.15-116.16)
  9. Series IX. Photographs and audiovisual material, 1976-2000, undated (#PD.1-PD.46, T-369.1 - T-369.37, Vt-173.1 - Vt-173.3)
  10. Series X. Memorabilia and oversized, ca.1974-1995, undated (#117OB-122OB, 123.1m-123.3m, Mem.1-Mem.2, F+D.1-F+D.4, OD.1-OD.2, SD.1)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 89-M110, 98-M23, 99-M88, 2001-M117, 2001-M139, 2002-M73, 2004-M30, 2007-M8, 2007-M144

The records of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers were given to the Schlesinger library by the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers between June 1989 and August 2007.

Processing Information

Processed: June 2010

By: Mary O. Murphy and Laura Peimer

Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers. Records of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, 1967-2005: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the generosity of Clara Schiffer.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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