Harvard To Cut Last In-House Guard Positions

Positions will be outsourced to security subcontractors this summer


The seven remaining Harvard-employed security guards will officially find out Friday that their positions will be eliminated June 30, according to James Herms, the head of a watchdog group investigating safety at Harvard.

Harvard has been steadily decreasing the number of in-house security guards in past years, outsourcing these jobs to security subcontractors.

University officials said last summer that the University was aiming to move to a single security provider.

After June 30, the seven guards will be offered jobs with Allied Security, Harvard’s largest security provider, according to Herms, a former extension school student, in an e-mail to his watchdog group. [Please see correction below.]

Harvard University Parking, Security and Museum Guards Union (HUPSMGU) President Danny Meagher confirmed yesterday that he and the guards will meet with University representatives and the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) Friday morning to “discuss [the guards’] futures.” HUPSMGU represents the seven guards and HUPD oversees their unit.

James A. LaBua, deputy director of the Office of Labor and Employee Relations, said the University will talk to the guards about “alternate job offers” available at Harvard during the Friday meeting, but would not confirm or deny that the guard positions would be eliminated.

“The purpose of the meeting is to have a discussion and try to inform the guards as to what direction we are headed in,” LaBua said.

But LaBua said he could not say whether job offers will be made to all seven guards or whether they will be offered severance packages until after the Friday meeting.

Meagher said that the union began negotiating with the University about a month ago over the status of the shrinking Harvard guard unit. The University once employed more than 120 security

security guards, but has gradually outsourced the positions to contractors.

Although Meagher refrained from providing details, he said talks have proceeded in a “straightforward, frank and fruitful way” since their beginning.

“The negotiations have been about the best thing for the people involved,” Meagher said.

“I can’t stop layoffs, but I do have the ability to enter into impact bargaining over those issues,” he later added.

Impact bargaining is negotiations in response to individual decisions made by the University.

Emma S. Mackinnon ’05, an active member of the Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM) said that the elimination of Harvard-employed guards showed the University’s lack of commitment to unions on campus.

She said that the trend toward the elimination of union jobs at Harvard undermines the University’s wage parity policy that mandates that the University pays outsourced workers the same amount as unionized Harvard employees for the same job.