To the Editor of the Crimson:
In communicating with Mr. Joseph Stefani, secretary of the Cooks' and Pastry Cooks' Association, the A. F. of L. affiliate representing the Harvard employees, I have discovered that the statement in Wednesday's Crimson, "dining hall employees are paid full union wages . . .", is false. According to Mr. Stefani, full union wages for waitresses are $12. a week with food and tips. Union regulations require that uniforms be supplied and laundered by the employer. Also the cleaning of wood-work is not done by union waitresses. In contrast Harvard pays $12 a week without tips, supplies uniforms but does not launder them, and requires them to do a certain amount of scrubbing.
Bus boys, according to union standards, should receive $16 a week with meals. Harvard pays $15 a week with meals. Pantry girls should receive $22 a week according to union scale; Harvard offers $12.
The editorial goes on to condemn the closed shop as "incompatible with a liberal university tradition of the maximum of freedom for all its members, students, and employees." Although objections to the closed shop are frequently made, it is important that something be said in its favor before a decision is made that this demand "must be firmly repulsed."
A union, to be of value to the employees, must be a permanent organization, always ready to protect the interests of its members. If better working conditions are obtained by a union which has not secured closed shop, experience shows that membership drops off, because employees receive the benefits of the union's activity even though they do not belong. The union then ceases to be in a position to protect the employees' interests, and the employer is once more in a position to economize at their expense.
Cases have also come up where the position of the union has been undermined by the employer showing favoritism to non-union employees. David R. Lit, '38