Harvard Club Can Afford Benefits
TO THE EDITORS
The following letter was sent to Donal Shapiro, president of the Harvard Club of New York, and submitted to The Crimson for publication:
Dear Mr. Shapiro:
As an alumna of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, I was appalled to learn that the Harvard Club of New York has become the latest employer to try to force health care cuts on its employees. I urge you to settle your strike with Local 6 HERE with a decent contract that honors the hard work and dedication your workers give to the Club and its members.
Health care costs are, as we both know, rising faster than inflation; these costs are beyond the control of labor and management alike and are a source of worry to everyone. To suggest, however, that a wealthy institution like the Harvard Club must dump the burden of medical costs on its workers is preposterous. The Club is healthy financially, and increased its membership last year. There is no reason to demand a wage freeze, cut in benefits or other concessionary provisions in a new contract.
I was especially outraged to read in The New Yorker that you are using changes in the tax deductibility of business lunches as an excuse for trying to cut workers' benefits. Surely alumni/ae business executives can afford a small reduction in their portfolios better than waiters, maids and busboys can afford to contribute can afford to contribute $500 a year to their health insurance. And none of them can write off any part of their lunches.
At its best, Harvard has always stood for a decent and enlightened example of leadership in our nation. The Harvard Club's dispute with Local 6 is a rude contradiction to that tradition.
Rather than joining the trend of businesses shifting the costs of the health care crisis onto their employees, who had no part in creating the crisis, the Harvard Club ought to take a stand that health care is a right. We can afford it. Dorothee E. Benz '87