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University Considers Forming New Company to Run MATEP

By Robert O. Boorstin

Harvard officials confirmed yesterday that they are considering establishing a new corporation to run the controversial Medical Area Total Energy Plant (MATEP) as workers at the Mission Hill plant returned to work.

The Medical Area Services Corporation (MASCO) Wednesday reached an agreement with the engineers and operators who run the plant, who had been on strike for about ten days.

Joe B. Wyatt, vice president for administration, said yesterday that the University is considering founding a new company to take over MASCO's duties as plant operator.

Sources near the contract negotiations had charged that Harvard officials were dissatisfied with the way that MASCO officials handled the negotiations and ran the plant while the workers were on strike.

Messy

Wyatt denied those charges, saying that the proposal to establish a new company was aimed at avoiding any conflict of interest among people who serve both as trustees of the hospitals--MATEP users--and members of the MASCO board.

MASCO, which runs the power plant on contract for Harvard, provides a variety of different services in the Medical Area, including responsibility for telephones, security and some maintenance in hospitals and other area buildings.

Wyatt said the most likely place for conflict of interest could rise "at an operational level." explaining that hospital owners might be upset with energy being supplied to their hospitals by a plant which they were in charge of running.

Classy Losers

Wyatt declined to say specifically that form the new company would take, saying the University decided to consider establishing the firm at the request of lawyers for MATEP users.

Attorneys for trustees of the Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Deaconess Hospital, two MATEP users, were unavailable for comment yesterday.

A source in Local 877 of the International Union of Operating Engineers said yesterday that plant workers, who went back on the job starting at 6 a.m. yesterday, were checking out the plant to make sure that two incidents when the plant was shut down during the strike hadn't done any permanent damage.

Diplomacy

The source said the new two-year contract, which guarantees wage increases of 10 and 9 per cent and a 15-month transfer to regular work shifts, will make the plant "a lot smoother, more productive and a better place to work."

The two sides has been negotiating for four months before talks broke down

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