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About 20 striking hospital workers and Harvard students disrupted a class of Gund Hall yesterday morning, demanding that the lecturer explain his role in a protracted wage dispute at a Boston hospital.
Mortimer B. Zuckerman, a visiting lecturer on Real Estate who was teaching the class, did not ask the demonstrators to leave. The demonstrators bombarded Zuckerman with question for ten minutes concerning the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Hospital administration's alleged refusal to meet the union's demands for higher wages and a union shop.
Members from Hospital Workers Union 1199 have been on strike for over a month, due to a breakdown in negotiations with hospital administrators.
Zuckerman told the demonstrators he had no power to intervene in the dispute since he is only a limited partner at the hospital.
Zuckerman asked the class to vote on whether they wasted to continue the class or discuss the issues of the strike. The students voted 35 to continue class. Several students told the demonstrators to "go home."
Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel to the University, said last night that the Administration will not press formal charges against the student protesters because Zuckerman never asked them to leave the room.
In a statement released last night, Steiner said the demonstrators "acted improperly" and that such action "will lead to disciplinary proceedings in the future."
Steiner added, "The appropriate deans and senior tutors are being asked to speak with the individuals involved to make certain that there is no uncertainty about the impropriety of their behavior."
Yesterday marked the second attempt by members and supporters of Hospital Workers Union 1199 to interrupt Zuckerman's class on Urban Land Development and Economics at Gund Hall at 10 a.m. on Friday. Their first attempt two weeks ago, was thwarted by Zuckerman's cancelling his class.
Zuckerman is a limited partner and one of the largest owners of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Hospital, a private Institution, Hospital administrators have negotiated for a contract with 1199 since July.
The employees--nurses, orderlines and kitchen and maintenance workers--voted to strike on October 31 after three months of what they called "fruitless negotiations."
Zuckerman told the demonstrators he was not sufficiently familiar with the issues to have an opinion on the merits of their demands. He said that as a limited partner, he was legally prevented from playing any role in the dispute.
"Why don't you withdraw your investment until the administrators come to terms with us?" Beally Boss, a striking worker and member of 1199, asked Zuckerman in his class yesterday.
Zuckerman said he had been considering withdrawing his investment but that it had nothing to do with the strike.
"We know you were one of the largest contributors to the McGovern campaign in this state. In this how far your liberation goes? Bass asked.
Zuckerman said he was not a "limited partner of McGovern" and therefore was not legally prevented from taking a role in the campaign. Zuckerman was then called out for a phone call by his secretary. The demonstrators left five minutes later.
An administrator and four policemen were at Gund Hall a few minutes before the demonstrators arrived, Paul Goodof '71, an assistant to the Board of Freshman Advisors, said he was called to go to Gund Hall early yesterday morning.
The demonstrators said they would continue to return to the class until Zuckerman takes action on their behalf.
The union is asking for a minimum wage of $115 a week, retroactive to July 21. The minimum wage is presently $95.
A federal mediator told the hospital administrators and the union in July that the dispute was at a deadlock and further mediations were useless.
Hospital administrators have refused the union's demand to submit all issues to binding arbitration. "There is a fundamental dispute over whether the contract should include a union shop, and we're not convinced that a majority of hospital workers what this," Jane Clifford, director of Personnel at Mass Rehab, said yesterday.
Clifford added that only about 60 of the 226 union members at the hospital are striking
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