Harvard Will Not Have to Rehire Cook

Arruda Did Not Meet Reinstation Requirements

The University does not have to rehire a short-order cook, filed over one and one half hears ago, because he did not fulfill the requirements for reinstation according to an arbitrator's ruling last week which ended an eight-month union disupute.

The arbitrator, David M. Grodsky, ruled on Friday that the union representing Harvard's dining hall workers did not present sufficient evidence that Vladimir Arruda--an admitted alcoholic--attended all of a series of rehabilitation sessions, which Grodsky ruled last year he had to attend in order to be rehired.

Arruda was fired in the fall of 1980 after being convicted of setting fire to a local Portuguese social club. He is currently on three years probation for attempted arson.

The cook has admitted that his drinking caused him to douse the side of the building with gasoline and set fire to it. He entered an Alcoliolies Anonymous (AA) program in February, 1981. Grodsky ruled the next month that if Arruda submitted slips to University officials to prove weekly attendance at the meetings over the next six months, he would be entitled to his old job.

Harvard refused to reinstate Arruda after the six months had passed, saying he had not submitted the necessary forms.


The union--Local 26 of the AFL-CIO's Hotel, Restaurant, Institutional Employees and Bartenders Union--then filed a grievance on Arruda's behalf last September 25.

Evidence presented at hearings on the grievance on March 9 and March 17 show that Arruda brought in only two slips to Associate Director of Food Services Kay S. LaCoss. He later presented letters from AA officials stating that he had been a regular participant in the meetings.

Grodsky upheld Harvard's position, citing AA attendance records that show he missed at least nine of the 28 meetings he was required to attend.

Union officials claim Arruda attended all the meetings, but because he is Portuguese and has trouble understanding English he did not realize that he was supposed to bring in all the slips.

Union President Dominic M. Bozzotto said this week, "I'm convinced in my heart that Arruda has rehabilitated himself," adding, "[he] deserved better from Harvard, he was doing everything he had to do."

But Edward W. Powers, Harvard's assistant general counsel for employee relations was less sympathetic toward on Wednesday.

"It's one thing to give someone a break if they come in and say I missed the meetings but I'll try to do better, but not if they tell you something that turns out not to be the case," Powers said.

Powers added that the University has no plans to rehire Arruda and that any decision to do so would be voluntary.

Powers downplayed the importance of the arbitration but was unhappy that Bozzotto had "tried to deal with it outside the normal procedure," by demanding Arruda's reinstation before the arbitration was complete and refusing the University permission to speak with certain witnesses.

Powers also said Bozzotto had "threatened to involve other members of the community" in the process, "which I took to mean a work stoppage. But it turns out he would go to The Crimson to try to get students involved."

The Arruda arbitration is the second Local 26 has had with Harvard since Bozzotto took office one year ago, but only the first concerning a firing. Before the decision he said, "It was important to show Harvard and the members of the union that we follow through on grievances."

Bozzotto said he held a meeting Tuesday night with some Harvard dining hall workers to inform them of the decision. He said this week he regretted losing, but "if we had won it wouldn't mean we own Harvard and if we had lost it wouldn't have meant we were through as a union there."

"Overall we've won 21 arbitration's since taking office and lost 16. We're doing fine," Bozzotto added.

Local 26 represents about 6000 workers at restaurants and colleges around the Boston area.

Bozzotto said the union is currently negotiating a contract with Brandeis University in Waltham and that some shop stewards from Harvard will participate in the proceedings. He said the stewards would act as observers and get valuable negotiating practice.