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LABOR'S LAMENT

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

By inviting the State Labor Relations Broad to probe the University's conduct, the A.F. of L. has stirred Harvard's labor cauldron and heated its simmering waters to a new boiling point. But the charge that the University has fomented a company union and coerced employees into joining it is neither supported by the facts nor even thoroughly believed by the Federation itself.

The inside union is in large measure the product of misapprehensions caused by the lengthy negotiations between the University and the waitresses. Unfounded rumors about the University's attitude arising from the seeming impasse probably led some forward-looking employees to think that Harvard would appreciate an inside union and reward its founders. Also a natural desire for prestige would induce a man despairing of achieving prominence in the A.F. of L. to join in building a new union.

An important part in the inside union's organizing campaign was played by janitors in the Freshman dormitories and houses. These men impaired the University's record of impartiality by permitting union cards to be distributed to the maids on University time. Some janitors exceeded their authority even further by attempting to compel maids to join the new union. More than one apostle of the new faith intimated to the maids that their bread and butter depended on their decision.

It is these activities that the Federation is eager to have checked, for with their termination, many maids would probably leave the inside union just as precipitously as they joined. The accusations against the University constitute a strategic manoeuvre on the part of the A.F. of L. to force Harvard to end the irresponsible actions of some of the janitors. By confining its employees to their proper functions the University can avoid a Labor Board hearing which would prove annoying even though it revealed a group of minor employees out of hand and not an anti-Federation cabal in University Hall. Better control of the janitors would enable the University to make its oft-heralded claim of neutrality undoubted fact. The University should act promptly.

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