District 65's New Cause
UAW Affiliate Hopes to Organize Main Campus
The United Auto Worker (UAW) affiliate that has tried to unionize 850 Medical Area clerical and technical personnel for seven years announced earlier this month that it will initiate a similar campaign on Harvard's main campus-the most ambitious unionizing effort in the University's history.
The size of a potential union of all the University's secretaries and technicians could reach 3000-six to seven times larger than the biggest unions now at Harvard.
District 65 of the UAW has still not managed to organize staff in the Medical Area, having lost its second representation election, 390-328, last April. But a recent decision submitted by a regional hearing officer of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has given District 65 a chance at another Medical Area election.
NLRB hearing officer Maria C. Walsh ruled in August that remarks made by two University supervisory employees unfairly influenced the April election's outcome.
University attorneys have filed their legal objections to Walsh's ruling, and District 65 responded to Harvard's exceptions on Wednesday. The case now goes before regional director Robert Fuchs, who can set a new election date or uphold the University's appeal.
The last time Fuchs reviewed a Harvard-District 65 legal case, he waited three years before both sides finally asked Washington to investigate the matter directly. The issue in 1974 was whether the Medical Area composed an "appropriate" bargaining unit, and the NLRB's Washington directors voted 3-2 in 1977 in District 65's favor, paving the way for the first union election.
As for the main campus, union officials say it will be a while before they begin to collect the 1000-1500 signatures necessary to petition the NLRB for an election, adding that they must concentrate first on the Medical Area and then do the organizational ground work.