A leader of the California AFL-CIO yesterday indicated his support for the Harvard printers' strike by refusing to give a scheduled speech to the graduation ceremony for members of the Business School's trade union program.
John F. Henning, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, said Harvard should accept the demands of the Graphic Arts International Union workers for higher wages. After he was told that some of the striking printers were paid $40-50 per week less than other unionized printers in the Boston area, Henning called the difference "incredible."
Joseph P. O'Donnell, chairman of the trade union program, said yesterday he was sorry Henning had not made the speech, but added that he had "no complaint" with Henning's action.
The graduation ceremony went as scheduled except that no graduation address was given, O'Donnell said.
The trade union program is a three-month program of seminars sponsored by the Business School. Twenty-six trade-unionists, including some from foreign countries, participated in the program this spring.
Henning said he had flown into Boston from California on Wednesday with the sole purpose of making the speech.
After arriving at the B-School yesterday morning, Henning saw the printers' picket line on Boylston Street and the printers there told him that the strike was GAIU-sanctioned.
Henning then decided not to make his speech and instead joined the printers' picket line.
He said he plans to return to California today.
"It was really great to see a man come all the way from California and then decide not to make his speech in order to support our strike," Edward Moreira, shop steward for Local 300 of the GAIU, said yesterday.
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