The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has set August 15 as the date for a hearing to rule on Harvard's charges that the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) engaged in illegal election day practices in their victory last May, the union's chief organizer said yesterday.
Kris Rondeau, director of HUCTW, said that although the NLRB has not yet made an official announcement of the August 15 hearing, she was assured by board officials that the hearing would take place on that date. After the hearing, an adminstrative law judge will issue a report on whether the election should stand or be overturned.
Special Assistant to the Vice President for Finance Anne H. Taylor, who heads Harvard's anti-union efforts, said yesterday that she had heard August 15 was the official date, but that she was waiting for official notification.
NRLB officials did not return repeated phone calls.
Both sides agree that whatever the outcome of the hearing, it will be appealed to the NLRB's five-member national board in Washington and that a final resolution will take months.
"The hearing will be exactly as we thought," Rondeau said. "It will go before an administrative law judge on August 15 and then it will go on to Washington."
Meanwhile, the war of words between the University and HUCTW is continuing. Rondeau said she plans to send a letter to all 3300 Harvard support staff next Monday explaining the union's conduct since the May 17th election and what the union was continuing to do as it waits for the NLRB decision.
Her letter comes several weeks after a memo was circulated to all University employees by Taylor. In that letter, Taylor charged that the union's election-day conduct was a clear violation of NLRB guidelines, and predicted that the August hearing would result in the invalidation of the union's May election victory.
At the August hearing, an administrative law judge will hear evidence from both sides about 13 charges the University has made against the union's election day conduct.
Harvard charged a week after the union election last May that by keeping lists of who voted and how, by transporting workers to and from the polls and by electioneering too close to the voting stations, the union acted improperly and that the results of the election should be overturned.
HUCTW won the election, in which over 90 percent of support staff members voted, by a 44-vote margin. The union contends that Harvard's charges are merely a delaying tactic and that it was engaged in legal get-out-the-vote efforts.
After a preliminary investigation into the University's charges, the NLRB announced late last month that a hearing would be held "within four to eight weeks." The official announcement of the August 15 date is expected sometime in the next few days, Rondeau and Taylor said.