In the crowded hearing room at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an anxious crowd of activists--both pro-and anti-union--gathered this week to watch the duel of lawyers that will decide the fate of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW).
There were three protagonists in the legal battle, and a host of partisan onlookers, as Harvard spent the week examining witnesses to bolster its case that the union violated board guidelines with its election day practices in its May 17 victory.
Joel A. Harmetz, the NLRB-appointed administrative law judge who will decide the case, presided over the hearing room with a mixture of humor and harsh words. Kathleen McCarthy, an NLRB official from the Boston office, sat in between the battling attorneys at the long hearing table facing the judge's podium where the main players gathered for the week.
A team of five top University officials plotted legal strategy for Harvard's case. Two lawyers from the Boston law firm of Ropes and Gray, Nelson G. Ross and David M. Mandel, were the University's main counsel. Vice President and General Counsel Daniel Steiner '54 arrived on the scene Tuesday, and bounced back and forth from his seat in the audience to give whispered advice to the lawyers.
The rest of Team Harvard was composed of Diane Patrick, a lawyer from the University's Office of the General Counsel, and Anne H. Taylor, the architect of Harvard's anti-union strategy. A portable telephone which the University brought lent the hearing room the aspect of a hastily set up military command center.
At the other end of the table, HUCTW was represented by a team of two--Craig Becker, a Washington-based labor lawyer, and Kris Rondeau, who heads the union. A constantly rotating group of around 10 union workers, wearing brightly colored pro-union buttons, sat in the audience each day, passing notes and running errands for Rondeau.