The University has requested a five-day extension for filing an appeal on a judge's recent ruling upholding last spring's union victory.
The administration was slated to file an appeal by Friday which would call on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to review the decision that the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) had legitimately won a support staff election last May.
Craig Becker, HUCTW's lawyer, said last night that the University had told him it would ask the NLRB to extend the deadline until next Wednesday. He was uncertain whether or not the extension had been granted.
Extensions are frequently requested, Becker said. "It's not particularly surprising. The lawyers have asked for an extension on the filing date, but it doesn't mean the University won't make a decision before then."
Anne H. Taylor, who headed the University's anti-union campaign last spring, confirmed that the administration had asked for an extension, but said she was not certain whether it had been granted.
The University had charged the union with illegal electioneering on the day of the vote, claiming that HUCTW organizers kept illegal lists of voters, campaigned too close to the polling areas and provided discriminatory transportation to the polls. However, an administrative law judge dismissed these complaints.
Harvard claimed that because the union won theelection by a narrow margin of only 44 votes, theorganizing tactics might have effected theelection outcome. The University asked the NLRB tooverturn the election and hold a second vote amongstaff members.
In his ruling, Judge Joel A. Harmatz discountedall of the University's charges, calling them"frivolous and argumentative," and condemnedHarvard for taking action that "transcends whatmight lightly be dismissed as an aggressiveadversarial approach."
If the University decides to appeal thedecision to the conservative five-member NLRB, thecase could remain undecided for up to two years,according to labor experts, because of the volumeof cases the NLRB rules on.
The experts say that legal delays in a unioncertification process often weaken the union'sbase of support and that Harvard's choice toappeal will be publicly perceived as a stronganti-union tactic