University Bilks Workers to Save a Measly $200,000
TO THE EDITORS
I am a 1993 graduate of Harvard College and write after learning about the situation regarding health care benefits for part-time clerical and technical workers at Harvard. Many of these women and men work very hard for Harvard while at the same time caring for their elderly parents, infirm spouses or young children. Many others take courses in the hope of bettering themselves and continuing their education.
From what I understand, by reducing from 85 percent to 70 percent the amount Harvard contributes to their health care benefits, the University will save $200,000 out of a benefits budget of $132 million. This is a very small savings. Yet the $700 extra that each worker will have to pay each year is a very large amount when compared to what these people earn and can afford. Certainly Harvard, which is worth billions of dollars, can afford to treat its workers more equitably. I understand that faculty get 100 percent health coverage.
If I learned one important lesson in my years at Harvard, it is to treat people with respect, regardless of their economic situation, station in life or occupation. President Neil Rudenstine and Provost Albert Carnesale must bring a more positive attitude to the bargaining table and not cut the budget on the backs of those least able to endure reductions.
I am very proud of my Harvard experience and remain very concerned about the continued glory of this wonderful institution. --Joshua Burstein '93