Printers Strike Draws Favorable Responses From Mail Workers and Radical Economists
Economists' Report Supports Printers
A group of radical economists at Harvard yesterday released a report explaining why the University should meet the wage demands of the striking printers.
The Harvard chapter of the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE) last month found that while inflation since the signing of the last contract has caused prices to rise 12.8 per cent, Harvard is offering the printers only a 5.5 per cent wage increase.
The report states that if the printers accept Harvard's offer, even with an adjustment for price increases, they would earn four fewer dollars than they did in 1968. However, if Harvard meets their demand for a 10-to-14 per cent wage increase, the printers will earn three more dollars than they did in 1968.
URPE is a national organization of economists, "committed to try to establish and develop a Marxian analysis of society," Richard C. Edwards, graduate student in economics and a member of URPE, said yesterday. Harvard membership in the organization consists of about 25 professors and graduate students in economics.
Edwards said a coalition of radical undergraduate groups requested the background material on the economics of the workers' demands to use in leaflets which will call for support of the strike.
He added that for economists to compile such a report was unusual, because most of them do not sympathize with strikers.
"The side of science is on the side of employers," he said. Workers cannot take the time to write a defense of their position and they cannot match the resources available to employers, he said.
No Effect on Harvard
John B. Butler, Harvard director of personnel, said yesterday that he had no knowledge of the report, but that it would have no effect on Harvard's position.
"Harvard will not respond to any particular group of employees or to their problems as they see them," Butler said.
Butler also said that although the government lifted its wage and price controls yesterday, Harvard will still not match wages dollar-for-dollar with price increases