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New contracts between Harvard and the five maintenance unions at the University-including a painters' contract which provides a mechanism for the promotion of painters' helpers-have been ratified by all the union groups involved except for a group of laborers.
The laborers-members of Local 877 of the International Union of Operating Engineers-rejected their contract Monday because it provided for a pay raise of only 65 cents an hour, compared with raises of 92 cents and $1.02 in skilled trades.
The new contracts were negotiated for Harvard's electricians, painters, plumbers, mechanics, steamfitters, stockmen, and laborers by the Boston and Vicinity Crafts Maintenance Council. They replace contracts which expired December 8.
The new painters' contract provides for a six-member committee made up of three Harvard representatives and three from the painters' union which will set up an apprenticeship program to upgrade the present painters' helpers to journeyman status.
"They are definitely going to be graded up," one union member said yesterday. He said that any helper who thinks that he should be promoted could file a grievance with his shop steward, who would bring it up before the committee.
The committee would check all references which the helper submitted, he said, adding that previously some references were ignored.
The agreement between Harvard and the council is the result of a marathon 14-hour negotiating session conducted December 11. The contracts which emerged were submitted to the five unions for ratification last weekend.
The laborers' contract provides for pay increases of 30, 20, and 15 cents an hour over a two -year period; all other trades will receive raises of 45, 20, and 27 cents over the same period. In addition, members objected to a clause which indicated that during an "emergency" at Harvard they might receive less than the normal double rate for overtime pay.
Harvard employs about 70 laborers, whoclean grounds and walks and handle furniture moving and snow removal.
The rejected contract will be returned to the council, which will negotiate the disputed points with Harvard, Donald Berry, a member of the council, said yesterday. Berry said that he did not feel the dispute would delay formal ratification of the other contracts, which is scheduled for Monday.
Edward J. Powers, Harvard labor relations manager, said yesterday that the laborers had not informed him of the rejection of the contract. He declined to comment on the dispute until he received the union's formal ratification.
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