Local 26 Discusses Demands
Workers Plan for Upcoming Contract Negotiations
More than 15 shop stewards of Local 26, the union that represents the University's dining hall workers, yesterday discussed demands they plan to present to the University during contract negotiations later this month and in June.
In addition to expressing concerns over being overworked and understaffed, the representatives said they were upset about what one shop steward called "the University's inconsistent sick-day policy."
"Managers demand doctors' notes every day you're out, but in the contract you're supposed to bring a note only after three days," said head shop steward and Adams House cook Edward B. Childs.
For example, one shop steward at the meeting said she called in sick one day and was asked by her manager to be back to work later that evening.
"I was sick and had a sore throat, but I was scared not to come in," she said. "My throat got worse, and I couldn't talk the next morning. Managers really harass you."
Childs said the sick-day policy is an issue that should definitely be brought up in the contract negotiations, which are scheduled to be held May 25, June 9 and June 19.
"We see Harvard's word, and how far it goes," he said.
Local 26 President Domenic M. Bozzotto, who has headed the union since 1981, said the University has its priorities confused and is too concerned with the money it may lose when workers call in sick.
"Harvard thinks they're in the business of money," Bozzotto said. "We know they're in the business of education."
Shop stewards at the meeting also said they want more student involvement in the University's dining hall staffing decisions.
"We're here for the students and we're looking to have some student input on how to staff the dining halls," Childs said, adding, "Dining staffs have been cut in all halls, and when students have had bad service they have looked at us."
"Students should know that we bring better service than any outside contractors, and we want to bring students in to help us negotiate," said Childs.
Bozzotto said he expected the 75 members of the union's negotiating committee to make a concerted effort to attend all of the weekly meetings to discuss their negotiating strategy.
"This is very serious business which will affect people's lives for the next three years," Bozzotto said. "We have to form demands and make sure we negotiate from a position of strength."
"If [the University] doesn't respect the work we do, they don't respect us as workers," Bozzotto said.