No Response to Union Rallies
Administrators Yet to React to Weeklong HUCTW Protests
After one week of picketing out side Massachusetts Hall, workers from the Harvard's Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) said they have received no comment or reaction from Harvard administrators.
HUCTW, Harvard's largest union, has continued to protest cuts in part-time health-care benefits which are scheduled to take effect in January. Members said they will continue to walk the picket line until the issue is resolved.
The rallies, which began daily at 8 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m., are attended by about a dozen workers and students who hold picket signs with cutouts of University Provost Albert Carnesale's face.
Harvard officials who work in Mass. Hall, including President Neil L. Rudenstine and Carnesale, have walked through the rally to work this week, but protesters said the administrators have not paid much attention.
Protesters, though, said they still hope their efforts will have an impact on the University's policy.
"I don't Know if [the protest] is affecting Carnesale's mindset, but I think we are certainly having a major effect on the rest of the Harvard community," said Kris Rondeau, an organizer of the protests.
"You never Know what's going on behind the scenes," Rondeau added.
The union has also distributed to passersby more than 1,000 fliers each day, said Ana Kent, a staff worker for the union. The fliers explain the intent of the rally and urge supporters to call and write to Carnesale.
For today's Harvard-Dartmouth football game, the union has hired a sky-writing plane to write above the stadium, "Harvard is unfair to working mothers."
Workers also plan to protest at some of the first-year parents' weekend events and at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences' reunion dinner.
The rally next week will include a "Children Protest" rally, when the workers' children will hold picket signs, as well as a "Grandparent Protest" rally.
At last night's Class of 1977 reunion dinner, which Carnesale attended, union workers distributed copies of a report criticizing the growth of Harvard administration.
Students and faculty have helped in the union's cause this week.
"When making decisions like these, the University counts on students not knowing," said Robert L. Feldstein '96-'97, a students organizer for the rally. "When students find out the truth, [it's harder for the University to make these same decisions]."
Feldstein has been gathering student support for the union by going to house committee meetings.
Students who learn about the rally sometimes grab a sign and join the protest, workers said.
Some faculty members have also shown their support for HUCTW and have written letters to Carnesale and Rudenstine, Rondeau said.