Harvard, Guards Make Progress In Labor Dispute

Sides agree to proceed without a mediator

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Guards upset with the slow pace of negotiations are criticizing both the union and the University.

Some guards faulted their own union for failing to communicate effectively withthem.

Others, like a guard at a river House who spokeon condition of anonymity, have placed the blamesolely on the University.

"They're dragging their ass," the guard said."It's been going on for years now. They got a new[negotiator], so it's just going to begin all overagain."

Roberts began representing the University innegotiations this summer.

Another guard, on patrol at a Harvard graduateschool earlier this week, said his union wouldhold fast to its proposals.

"Harvard is used to getting publicity," hesaid. "That's one thing we won't give them."

Asked about the effect that the long-standingcontract dispute has had on guard morale, he said:"It's just been...years."

Guards have also expressed concerns to theirunion heads about their future as employees atHarvard.

They note that several graduate schools anddepartments have outsourced their securityoperations to companies such as Cambridge-basedSSI, Inc.

Moreover, the guards have pointed out, no newguards have been hired since 1990.

The guards are being represented by Bostonattorney Randall E. Nash, who refused to commenton the timing and agenda of his next meeting withthe University.

"The thing is that sometimes you reach pointswhere things are better left unsaid," he said

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