While busy students of the Class of '46 get ready to take their A.B. and B.S. degrees, and graduates of the professional schools make plans to accept M.A.'s and Ph.D.'s. another group of 15 hard-working Joe Hills, also rounding out their course at the University this month, just as eagerly look forward to receiving a plain certificate and a letter.
The certificate will indicate that they have successfully completed the course offered by the University to its Trade Union Fellows. The letter, concerning each individual Fellow's record in the course, will be one prepared by the faculty and will be sent to the unions which selected and sent the men to Harvard last September. These "graduates" also have a definite job waiting for them, for they will return to their respective unions as executives, prepared to assume places of leadership in the labor movement.
Largest in the four-year history of the Fellowship Plan, the current class includes 13 men, two women. About half of the Fellows, whose average age is 33, have their families with them and live in apartments and rooms near the Yard. Others have rooms in Business School dormitories and make their headquarters in club and study rooms at Glass Hall. All of them are enrolled in a course which aims to prepare them to accept positions of greater responsibilities in their unions.
Seminars Judged Most Valuable
Under direction of Lamont University Professor Sumner H. Slichter, the course centers around seminars and classes conducted by Benjamin M. Selekman, Kirstein Professor of Labor Relations; John Dunlop, associate professor of Economics; and others. Included are numerous luncheon and dinner meetings, at which prominent labor and management leaders speak. Each Fellow also submits an extended report on a problem of union policy, on which he has done research while in the course.
Among this year's Fellows is George D. Delaney of the International Molders and Foundry Workers' Union of North America (A.F. of L.). Delaney believes the most helpful feature of the course is the seminar in which industry's point of view is presented.
"Our discussions of the general problems of industry are extremely valuable to me," Delaney says, taking care to point out that he believes there is a vast difference between industry problems and problems of management.
Management, Labor Get Together
Another enthusiastic booster of the seminars is Sam Janis, business agent of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (A.F. of L.) in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In the report he will submit to the faculty, he plans to discuss "Trends in the Location of the Women's Garment Industry."
"This course is establishing a much better relationship between labor and management," claims Richard S. Hamme of the United Transport Service Employees of America (C.I.O.). General chairman of the New Haven Railroad adjustment board, Hamme's home is Boston, and he is one of the few commuters enrolled this year.
Two international vice presidents of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America (A.F. of L.) are attending classes-Harry Poole of Philadelphia and Marvin Hook of St. Louis. Hook believes, generally, "that any union is right when it demands more money."
No Educational Requirements
The consensus seems to be that the Trade Union Fellowship program in well-integrated and that it will be of great value to the men enrolled. In addition to seminar discussions, the following courses are among those scheduled: accounting, trade agreement administration, economics, management controls, problems arising under the Wagner Act, problems of dealing with government agencies, production management, productive organization and engineering, collective bargaining studies, and others.
A Trade Union Fellow doesn't have to meet any specific educational qualifications to gain entrance. He may have completed a college course, or he may not have completed grade school. The University desires unions to send men of intelligence and practical experience who are devoted to the labor movement and who expect to spend their careers in the service of labor. The best test of a man's qualifications, according to the Fellowship faculty, is a record of successful experience serving labor.
Graduates Receive Promotions
Many graduates have received promotions. One former Fellow has left the organizing field to become Chief Clerk to Grand President Harrison of the Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks; another former Fellow, once a field representative, has been appointed the Georgia State Director for the Textile Workers' Union of America; another, formerly a member of the negotiation committee of hs local, has been made a full-time organizer; still another has been promoted from shop chairman to full time business agent.
"A Staff to Review the Work of the Trade Union Fellowship" was established to appraise the course and to suggest improvements where they were believed necessary.