OBU Negotiations Stalled Over Construction Issue

Negotiations between the Organization for Black Unity (OBU) and the Harvard administration have collapsed, and no further talks are scheduled.

OBU has charged the Administration with failing to respond positively to its demands, particularly the demand that 20 per cent of construction workers at Harvard be black or "third world."

Philip N. Lee. a third-year law student and one of the OBU negotiators, said that OBU voted Monday night-following the initial meeting of the "implementation committee" set up during the December 5 building occupation-to cancel the meeting scheduled for 1 p. m. yesterday.

"As far as OBU is concerned, talks broke down right after the first session," OBU president Lee said yesterday. "It was clear that the Administration was not ready to discuss construction workers or the 20 per cent demand."

Lee said that initiation of any further talks is up to the Administration.

Willing to Talk


But Archibald Cox. Samuel Williston Professor of Law and one of the chief negotiators for the University, said last night that the Administration was willing to talk and the next move was up to OBU.

"We're sorry that they're unwilling to meet with us." Cox said. "but we can't meet with people who refuse to meet."

Cox said that he received a message Tuesday afternoon that there would be no further meetings until the University agreed to the OBU demands.

Yesterday's meeting had been set up Monday at the first meeting of the implementation committee as a continuation of the talks. The ten-member committee-five OBU members and five Administration spokesmen, including Cox and L. Gard Wiggins, administrative vice-president-was part of the agreement drawn up between Lee and Cox during the black students seizure of University Hall last Friday.

The OBU demands center around three main issues:

That Harvard raise the wages of all painters helpers to those of painters and abolish the painters helper category.

That 20 per cent of all workers employed at present and future construction sites be black or "third world".

And that a mechanism be established to provide for a compliance officer to supervise these sites.

After Monday's meeting, OBU spokesmen expressed optimism about reaching agreement on the painters helper issue. They said however that construction workers had not been discussed, and that the main point of contention was the 20 per cent demand.

That night, Lee said OBU met as a body and voted to discontinue talks on the grounds that the Administration was not ready to discuss the demands positively.