Clockwise from left: Kris Thompson, Chantal Hardy, Tom Souers, Maggie Carracino, Noah Barrientos, Richard Grijalva.

Read their stories on the left and below!


"I was very active in TUSA (Tufts University Staff Association) years ago. Over time, a group of us got frustrated because we felt that we couldn’t really represent ourselves. It all depended on whether or not someone in the Administration would listen to us. We invited folks from the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers to come talk to us, and began thinking about what it would mean for us to have a union at Tufts.

I confess, I was skeptical, very skeptical. I had a good relationship with my department chair and I didn’t want anything to spoil that. It took me a long time to decide that I wanted a union at Tufts. However, I came to believe strongly in a positive union that stands for participation, for having a voice at work, and for having a place at the table to negotiate about things that matter to us.

To make a long story short, a bunch of us began talking to our co-workers in an organized way about forming a union for Tufts staff. We wanted to build a union based on the HUCTW model, but to make it our own, here at Tufts. I’m retired now, but I still believe that this union, TEA, would be good for the staff and the University. I still help out in any way that I can."

Maggie Carracino, Retired, History Department, Tufts, and TEA Organizer

Pictured above: Nicole Cottam


"Whenever I can I like to help the under-powered, be they animals or humans. While I was a student at the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy, I learned how to be an effective advocate for animals. Now I am excited to use some of the same skills that I learned at Tufts to help my fellow employees. I am especially impressed by the methods TEA uses to organize. TEA’s organizing style matches my philosophy of how change should occur – without any aggression or unnecessary conflict! I am not an unhappy Tufts employee, but I did work for another university in the past where I received a better benefits package. One does not have to be angry with their employer in order to want better working conditions. I’m so glad that TEA encompasses this concept into their organizing campaign!"

Nicole Cottam, Behavioral Services Coordinator, Foster Hospital, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts, 10 years of service

Pictured above: Sharon Titus and Bonnie Elkevitch

Sharon and Bonnie

"We have been in the work force for many years, and Tufts is the best place we have worked. We probably have the best department in the University! Our Chair and faculty are very supportive of the staff and fun to work with, but we are aware there are others in the University who do not have a support system. These people need a voice and we believe that TEA can be that voice. Having the union at Tufts will be a great opportunity for all of us to become a stronger community."

Sharon Titus, 7 years service, and Bonnie Elkevich, 13 years service, Anatomy Department, Tufts

Pictured above: Justin Wheeler and Andrea Caceres


For almost three years now, I have had a broad relationship with Tufts. Currently I am both a graduate student at the Tufts School of Medicine and a full-time research technician at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. Through these two distinct and yet similar environments I have witnessed day-by-day how Tufts, with great competence and leadership, is capable of establishing a culture of collaboration and responsibility both in the workplace and in the classroom. I have also had the opportunity to experience Tufts as a community that builds on the strengths of its students, faculty and staff and wherever possible advances sustainable solutions to today’s challenges. For this reason, I see Tufts University being committed to promoting an environment that supports values such as fairness, equity, freedom and solidarity—the same values advocated by the Tufts Employee Association.

By becoming part of the Tufts Employee Association I will further extend my membership with the University and deepen my ability to uphold the values Tufts promotes. I will be in a unique position to better get to know my fellow coworkers and feel that together with Tufts we can more readily face the obstacles yet to come. It is my deepest aspiration that Tufts University can welcome the Tufts Employee Association as a partner so that together both can empower us all.

Andrea Caceres, Nutrition and Vision Lab, Tufts, 3 years service

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"I know that I can work with my P.I.* to find a schedule that works for me. I like the flexibility and the sense of dignity that comes with it. I want there to be a way that everybody can have the same control in their lives."

Justin Wheeler, Body Composition Analysis Center, Friedman School of Nutrition, Tufts, 2 years service

*a P.I. is a principal investigator or lead researcher

Pictured above: Chen Xie


"As a research tech with a short two-year commitment at Tufts, I knew when I first heard of TEA that I would be moving on long before the union could even be put up for a vote. That didn’t stop me from being excited about the idea that TEA represents: a community of employees spread across the different campuses working together and helping each other out. Even if I won’t be here to receive the tangible benefits from being part of an official organization, it feels good to know that I can still play a role in helping to build a community for those who are staying on and for those who have yet to join."

Chen Xie, former employee, Human Nutrition Research Center, Tufts

This page is filled with photos, stories, and quotes from Tufts staff, former Tufts staff, and Tufts students who all support TEA! Read the stories below or learn more about TEA on the TEA website.

Read stories from friends and supporters in like-minded unions on the NEOP home page.

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"My partner Laura and a couple of other friends were all at Harvard before the same organizing team helped form the union there. Each of them was in a different area of Harvard, but they all had similar stories about the many positive changes and win-win situations that came in the union's wake. When I heard that Tufts & its employees have the same sort of opportunity here, it seemed a complete no-brainer to me that we should want to find out more."

Kris Thompson, Tisch Library, Tufts, 5 years service

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“I love Tufts and the work I do here, and am lucky to have a wonderful, supportive department. I’d love for other folks on campus who may run into difficulties to have a support system in finding mutually beneficial solutions and to create positive change in their workplace. I believe that a Tufts union is the best way to do that.”

Chantal Hardy, English Department, Tufts, 7 years service

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"Tufts is a great educational institution and a terrific place to work, but there is always room for improvement. I can think of no better guarantee of continuous improvement than a unionized workforce with a real voice and the opportunity to articulate creative, well-grounded ideas."

Tom Souers, Tisch Library, Tufts, 36 years service

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“A union just makes sense to me. It means we are coming together to talk to and hear from our whole community. I think only by engaging everyone in conversation can we hope to see things from all points of view.”

Noah Barrientos, English Department, Tufts, 5 years

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"Not only is Tufts a great university, but it’s a fantastic place to work. Looking to the future, the more Tufts grows in quality and reputation, the more important it will be for its workers to have a seat at the table in making Tufts an even greater university. With TEA as a partner in the process of continuously improving the university, Tufts will be better poised to accomplish its ambitious goals."

Richard Grijalva, Central Development, Tufts
Richard just left his position in University Advancement to pursue graduate studies.  Good luck Richard!

Pictured above: Paul Ronsheim and Mary Person


"A union is a way to reach out to our fellow staff members and help ourselves as a community that the University itself has already defined as a group. Even if one is content with one's immediate work group, negotiations with the administration as a united voice would bring improvements for all."

Paul Ronsheim, Anatomy, Basic Sciences/Medical, Tufts (pictured with wife Mary Person, a former HUCTW member and current Harvard employee)

Check out what Mary has to say on the HUCTW Photos and Stories page!

Pictured above: Bill Pigott and Bob Chaban


"A strong employer and a strong union ensure job security."

Bill Pigott, Facilities Office, Tufts, 5 years service
(pictured with Bob Chaban, Facilities Office, Tufts, 8 years service)

Pictured above: Fay Martin


"Tufts is an amazing place to work, with incredible people that have a spirit and passion for Tufts University and the community. Employees, myself included, look for opportunities to get involved in groups and activities that will enhance the Tufts community, be it Eco Ambassadors, working with local charities or supporting university student organizations. The union is a natural extension of this culture.

The best and most successful work environments are the ones where there is open and mutual communication. Having an employee union encourages and cultivates communication and an atmosphere of working together to make this working relationship be the best it can be for Tufts University."

Fay Martin, Department of Occupational Therapy, Tufts

Pictured above: Tufts University undergraduate students and alumni Nick Perricone (2012), Lindsay Lebel (2013), Stephanie Tsuji (2011), Gabe Frumkin (2010), and Alana Epstein (2010).


"The people who work at Tufts continually help to make it as great a school as it can be. Tufts prides itself its community, and everyone who works here is a vital part of it. I want them to feel as happy, comfortable and fulfilled here as I do."

Nick Perricone, Philosophy and English major, Tufts Class of 2012

Learn more about TEA or check out stories and photos from our friends and supporters in other like-minded NEOP unions:

NEOP unions & projects | TEA website | Back to top 

Tel: 617-661-8289