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Despite the presence of a federal mediator at their last bargaining session, spokesmen for Harvard and the union representing most of the employees in the University Printing Office yesterday reported the two sides are still far from agreeing on a new contract.
Paul Golden, president of Local 300 of Graphic Arts International, said yesterday that although a meeting held last Friday produced "some progress," Harvard and the union still disagree over "basic financial issues."
"An agreement is not on the horizon," Golden said.
The bookbinders and compositors in the Printing Office have been working without a contract since November , when their last pact expired.
Golden said the two sides disagree most sharply over the issue of wages and fringe benefits. He would not disclose either the union's demands or Harvard's offer.
Dianne B. Fraser, the Harvard attorney handling the negotiations for the University, said yesterday the two sides are not near an agreement.
Fraser would not comment on the substance of the negotiations.
She added, however, that Harvard and the union have used the previous bargaining sessions to define the scope of the talks by agreeing on the issues to be discussed.
"We know where we are, we have determined what the major issues are in the talks," Fraser said.
Local 300, along with the union's Local 16b, represents about 40 Harvard employees, who make up almost two-thirds of the staff of the Printing Office.
In 1974 the union authorized a strike after Harvard and Local 300 could not agree to terms. That job action lasted 17 weeks.
Golden said he would not rule out the possibility of a job action this year if the two sides do not reach an agreement soon.
Harvard and the union have held five meetings since October, but Friday's session was the first round of talks held with a representative of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service present.
Richard X. Goggin, the federal mediator who has also been involved in the University's ongoing negotiations with the Harvard Police Association, has been assigned to the case.
Goggin could not be reached for comment last night.
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