Union Response

MAIL:

To the Editors of The Crimson:

I am writing to express dismay at the distorted and inflammatory article which appeared in. The Crimson on December 2. The reporter and some of her sources showed a shocking lack of understanding about how local unions, and other membership organizations, traditionally and legally conduct their affairs.

The reporter quoted a comment of mine about our union's selection of participants for the upcoming transition period meetings inaccurately. She ascribed to me a sentiment which makes no sense in the context of our interview, or of anything I've ever said or our union has ever done.

For the record, what I actually said was "It was partly to make a point that if you are going to be in the union, you've got to be in the union. It (the selection of a transition team) is not for people who campaigned against it (the union)."

HUCTW has always been defined by the equal opportunity of employees to participate, and our methods and record show that. There is, however, an important distinction to be made between matters conducted as internal union affairs and our more generalized responsibility to the whole community.

It is useful to consider the way healthy and effective organizations work. A good union seeks the knowledgable involvement of all its members. It thrives on inclusion and growing membership. In fact, since May 17 we have held more than 300 open lunchtime meetings, with every employee invited to at least several. We have also distributed an extensive written survey about contract issues to every employee. Our membership continues to grow, and we are becoming a union in more specific ways all the time.

Aside from that, a union must arrive at ways to govern its internal affairs. To work at cross purposes is to move backward, so we must have agreement with each other to work together, even when there is honest disagreement on what course of action we might take.

In any membership organization, in any voluntary association--including any union--it is the members who vote. In internal union matters, it would be irresponsible toward our members and perhaps even illegal to allow non-members to vote. The single most important fact is that we are entirely earnest in our desires to offer membership to every employee who desires it.

In fact, that opportunity is now at hand. This week we are beginning again, as we did before the May 17 election, to distribute membership cards and encourage all Harvard employees to be a part of that process of decision-making and mutual support.

Everyone will be asked, and everyone will be included. That is the way we have always worked, and the way we always will. Kristine Rondeau   Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers