University officials claimed yesterday that the labor union representing Harvard's dining hall workers has withdrawn a controversial race and sex discrimination-based grievance filed in May. Union, officials, however, yesterday repeatedly denied that the complaint had been withdrawn.
In the first of a series of contradictory statements made by both sides yesterday a Harvard official said that he was informed by the union that its complaint over the firing of a Black Adams, House dining hall worker had been withdrawn.
Union officials, however, stood by their statement that the case was still in negotiations and that a meeting between Harvard and the union will be rescheduled for a later date.
Passie A. Harley, a 21-year-old Cambridge resident, was fired May 2 after consistently arriving late at her workplace in the Adams House dining hall. In her three years working there, three separate managers have complained about her tardiness.
Labor union officials have said her lateness resulted from Harley's child care responsibilities. Harley is a single parent.
Negotiations for a settlement, which started in May, broke off about a month ago and since then the union cancelled a June 26 meeting. The two parties have continued to exchange phone calls in an attempt to re-open the discussions
Yesterday, Harvard contacted Barbara Rice, business agent of the Hotel and Restaurant Worker Local 26 in an attempt to reschedule talks. Harvard officials claim Rice said the caste was closed, Rice, however, claims that she said nothing of the sort.
"They must have misunderstood what I was trying to say," Rice said. She added she told Associate General conusel for Employee Relations Edward W. Powers that the meeting between Harvard and Local 26 would have to be postponed until all those involved could attend
After speaking with Rice, Charles Off, Power's secretary, phoned The Crimson and said that the case was closed, with the union dropping the grievance.
Powers, however, denied the union's interpretation of the phone call. "The union has withdrawn it. The case is settled," he said. "There is no confusion to me. It's very clear," Powers added.
"I have no idea what the hell is going on." Local 26 President Domonic Bozzotto said about the conflicting exchanges. He said the complaint had not been withdrawn and that the meeting could not be rescheduled for this week because he was leaving for California this morning.