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The Judge's Conclusion


Judge Joel A. Harmatz's concluded his 33-page decision upholding the election of a support staff union with the following:

The Employer, [Harvard], argues that, even if no particular element of the Union's strategy independently warrants setting aside the election, the pattern of misconduct requires that result. To my knowledge no case has been cited whereby that policy has been invoked [where there has not been evidence] of coercion, misstatements, bribery, violence, or vandalism.

Nevertheless, as for Union supporters, the Employer states that the Union's campaign interfered with their "right to exercise their statutory rights without interference." Stripped of glossy unconfirmed characterization, the Employer's complaint here addresses a perfectly legitimate, apparently successful, tactical maneuver by the Union which was calculated to convert pre-election support into "yes" votes to the greatest extent possible.

By and large, employees solicited in that endeavor were treated with deference, and certainly without conduct that would inspire fear or confusion. As for others, the Employer--without calling a single witness to testify that he or she knew that the Union was providing assistance on a supporter only basis, or that he or she could not vote because of this requirement--argues that the union denied "1700-1800 members of the electorate who were not perceived as union supporters, equal access to the polls."

My own reaction calls to mind a comment by then Chief Judge Coffin, who...struck down a like contention, stating "...puffs of this sort of smoke do not indicate the existence of any flame."

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