Cooks Attack Harvard, Union; Criticize Restrictions on Labor

The employees of the Radcliffe dining halls will present a list of 12 grievances about union and Harvard policies to the Personnel Office today.

The list asks Harvard to give employees word of scheduling changes, to post information about all open kitchen jobs and to supply kitchen jobs and to supply kitchen workers with similar employment during the summer.

Sherman L. Holcombe, newly elected shop steward for the Cooks and Pastry Cooks Association, Local 186, received approval to present the grievance list to the University at a meeting of the employees yesterday.

The list criticizes Harvard for giving unskilled kitchen workers, waitresses and dishwashers different jobs during the summer, usually in buildings and grounds. These workers, if they refuse the job, are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

Legal Interpretation


William N. Mullins, manager of employee relations, who has seen the list of grievances, upheld Harvard's policy as "an interpretation of United States law." He said "Previous cases have established a commonality between the unskilled employees' regular and summer jobs."

"However, a cook, who is considered skilled, can get unemployment benefits rather than take the buildings and grounds job," he added.

The employees criticize the union for a recent dues increase, the charging of dues year-round although they are represented for only nine months, and the difficulty of attending union meetings held near Roxbury.

The employees received notice on December 16 of a $1.50 union dues increase effective January 5. The list criticizes the union for not giving "sufficient advance notice" on the increase.

Kitchen employees are usually shifted to building and grounds jobs during the summer, but must continue to pay dues to the Cooks and Pastry Cook Local, the grievance list charges.

Frank Stefani, business agent for the Boston local, said "The dues pay for the operation of the union, and we can't just shut down during the summer. Besides, their dues ($7.50 per month) are almost the lowest in the entire International."

Stefani cited the poor attendance record of Radcliffe employees at union meetings. Holcombe later admitted to not attending the union meetings himself, but said he plans to now that he is steward.

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