The student support which was instrumental to the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) in its May election victory continues to be vital as the union awaits a verdict on the University's challenge to the election, union officials said yesterday.
Union officials said students are needed to drum up support for its side and to pressure the University not to appeal the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) decision on the challenge, if the board rules in the union's favor.
The University charged the union with illegal campaign activities in a complaint to the Board a week after the election. Within the next month an NLRB judge is expected to hand down a ruling on whether the union victory should stand or a new election should be held. Both sides have said they would appeal an unfavorable ruling.
"Often people studying here aren't aware of how much power they have in the Harvard community," said Kris Rondeau, HUCTW's director, adding that student support has always been an important part of the organizing drive.
"There is as much of a role for students now as there was for students during the election," said Elizabeth E. Ruddick '88-'89, an active student volunteer for the union. "There is still a lot to be done."
During the three months before the election students helped organize two rallies, painted banners, distributed fliers and did office work for HUCTW. On the election day more than 50 students helped union organizers in their get-out-the-vote effort.
As well, more than 3000 students signed a petition urging the administration not to carry out an intimidating anti-union campaign.
"The issue of the union is even more crucial than last fall--it's even more important for students to get involved," said Rosa Ehrenreich '91, co-chair of the Committee for Economic Change (CEC), the most active student support group for HUCTW.
Union supporters, led by CEC, are planning an intensive tabling campaign during the next few weeks, hoping to increase interest in the union. Students also said they plan to volunteer in HUCTW offices, educate their classmates and pressure administrators to bargain with the union for a quick contract settlement.
Ehrenreich and other union supporters believe that because students have been off-campus during the summer, many are unaware of the current union situation and consequently union support is not as strong as it was last spring among students.
"A lot of people don't know about the legal status of the union. They heard about the election and think that it's all over," said Ruddick.
"The more people know about us, the more likely they will be to support us," said Rondeau, who has worked with present and former members of CEC, to establish a connection between Harvard employees and students.