Wayne M. Langley, director of higher education for SEIU Local 615, said in November that the WBPP clarified and equalized certain explicit articles of the contract—articles that generate grievances that the union is already able to resolve quickly. But, Langley said, complaints that the union receives mostly pertain to a category known as “management rights,” which includes transfers, shift switches, and other complaints not explicitly addressed in the workers’ contract or in the WBPP.
The ambiguity of “management rights” allows for a variety of gaps between Harvard employees and contracted workers in labor relations and treatment, such as worker transfers and shift assignments, which contracted employees do not have the infrastructure to protest against, Langley said. These “management rights” allow supervisors to make workplace decisions at their own discretion, according to union officials Langley and Bill Jaeger, director of the Harvard Union for Clerical and Technical Workers, which represents more than 4,000 Harvard employees.
While it is possible for employees in all sectors at Harvard to be transferred, Langley said that when contracted workers are transferred, employers do not need to state a reason, and employees cannot appeal most transfers.
Two contracted workers both said that they had been transferred by Securitas management during their time at Harvard. Both Securitas officers added that they know many colleagues who have suffered from what they call punitive transfers, although almost a dozen workers approached declined to comment on personal experiences.
Aryt Alasti, a Securitas worker, also said that he and many of his colleagues have allegedly experienced what he called a “non-disciplinary transfer” to another facility. According to Alasti, if an in-house worker was transferred without reason, there are many stages of appeal they could go through. For contracted workers, however, Alasti said “there is no recourse.”
“The management has the right to transfer people for operational necessity,” Langley said. “[But] sometimes employers transfer people as punishment.... It might be a more isolated location. It might be night shift versus day shift.”
The anonymous Securitas officer referenced earlier described a personal incidence of unfair targeting when she began working at Harvard.
“[The newly hired security manager] went out of his way to try to catch me using a cell phone or not doing my job or whatever reason they have to get rid of you, move you,” she said in a November interview. Furthermore, she alleged that the conflict continued when her manager received a complaint from a Harvard affiliate whose identification she had checked.
She said that she was transferred that night to a different and “less desirable” location on Harvard’s campus.