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Local 26 Contract Negotiations Will Not Resume This Week

By Laurence S. Grafstein

Contract negotiations between the University and the union representing Harvard's dining hall workers will not resume until next week at the earliest. They have been stalled since April 9.

Although the two parties agreed to a meeting tentatively slated for Friday, union officials cancelled the appointment because of prior bargaining commitments at Brandeis.

Edward W. Powers, associate general counsel for employee relations, has asked Local 26, the union representing the dining hall employees, to issue a statement clarifying the letter circulated Saturday charging the administration with not bargaining in good faith.

Local 26 sources, however, said yesterday the union will not release a public statement about the letter until after the next negotiation session.

"We're going to wait and see what Powers does at the meeting," a union source said.

Powers said yesterday he will negotiate any time the union wants, adding that bargaining has reached an impasse because of "confusion."

"I have been available almost every day since negotiations broke off, and I think it's the union's responsibility to set the record straight," Powers said.

The letter, drafted by Harvard dining hall shop stewards, alleges that Powers has tried to delay negotiations. The tactics listed include failing to offer a counterproposal to the union's demands, breaking off the initial sessions, and not contacting Local 26 to set a date for resuming bargaining procedures.

Union officials did not sanction the letter's distribution, Fred Walden, vice president of Local 26, said yesterday.

Powers declined to comment on his strategy for the next meeting, or on whether he will forward a counterproposal.

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