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Workers' Petition Hits Breakfast Plan

Dining Hall Employees Protest to Bok

By Erik J. Dahl

The chief shop steward representing Harvard dining hall workers yesterday sent to President Bok and three other University officials a petition signed by about 350 workers protesting the plan to serve no hot breakfasts at eight dining halls next year.

Alan L. Balsam, of Local 26 of the Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Employees Union, sent copies of the petition to Dean Fox, Edward W. Powers, associate general counsel for employee relations, and Francis J. Weissbecker, director of Food Services.

In a letter accompanying the petition, Balsam wrote that the petition shows dining hall workers are unhappy with the decision to have only four Houses serve full breakfast, and want the decision changed.

The petition says, "This plan will mean much hardship for both students and workers and will mean transfers and schedule changes for Harvard employees."

Balsam said yesterday he doubts the petition will actually cause University officials to change the breakfast plan for next year, but added "it's definitely worth trying" to get the plan cancelled.

He said if the plan is not changed because of the petition, "We'll have to wait until next year, and see how students feel about having to walk through the snow."

Neither Bok nor Powers could be reached for comment yesterday, and Fox declined to comment.

Weissbecker said yesterday he has not yet received a copy of the petition, but said he feels "it is still premature to anticipate the hardships on students and staff" because of the breakfast plan.

Weissbecker added, "From where I'm sitting, I don't anticipate any immediate changes in next year's plan."

Union members circulated an open letter to students in the dining halls earlier this month protesting against the breakfast plan. Balsam said the letter drew "a lot of student support."

But because of Reading Period pressures, students have had little time to take action against the plan, Balsam said. He added, "The way the thing was raised by Dean Fox really precludes student input."

Balsam said almost all full-time dining hall employees have signed the petition, and also many part-time workers.

"To my knowledge, no one has refused to sign," Balsam said.

Balsam said the union sent the petition to Bok as well as Fox, who originally decided to limit the number of Houses serving hot breakfasts next year, because "Dean Fox obviously isn't sensitive to our needs."

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