A hearing examiner for the National Labor Relations Board yesterday heard a third day of testimony in a dispute involving employees of the University's Mail Communications Center.
The eleven workers at the facility are seeking to join Local 16b of the Graphic Arts International Union and to establish themselves as a separate bargaining unit with the University.
Harvard Fights Back
Under the law, employees seeking to set up a bargaining unit must file a petition with the labor board. The petition may then be contested by the employer. Harvard has contested the mailers' petition on the grounds that the mailing center is not sufficiently different from other clerical departments of the University and its employees should therefore not be allowed to join the printers' local.
The GAIU, on the other hand, has been trying to prove that the job the mailers do is an adjunct to the function of the University Printing Office. They contend that the jobs done by the two groups coincide sufficiently so that joint representation would be appropriate. The mailing office is in the basement of the building which houses the printing office.
William Hurley, the NLRB hearing officer, said yesterday that a decision on the case might be reached in two to three weeks, after the regional director of the NLRB examines the completed hearing record and an examiner's report. There have been two previous hearings in the case, and a fourth and final one will be held this morning.
John B. Butler, director of personnel, said the University opposes the unionization effort because it fears setting a precedent by which small groups of employees could organize into many small and separate bargaining units.
"We feel the work done by the mailers is not sufficiently isolated in one place in the University and therefore if these eleven employees are organized, why not other small groups doing similar work?" Butler said.
A union spokesman, however, termed the University as "just your normal anti-union employer; trying to screw the employee."