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Relations between Harvard and the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) enter a new era, as a different Harvard administrator will now head University policy towards the union.
Robert R. Bickal, former director of employee and labor relations, takes over the post of vice president for human resources as management-worker relations become more decentralized following an agreement between Harvard and HUCTW.
University personnel managers said one of Bickal's chief tasks will be determining the degree of decentralization that should take place.
"One of the major challenges," said Peter S. McKinney, director of personnel services in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), "is the issue of how labor resources should be organized at Harvard--the degree to which they should be done centrally, and how much of these services should be done in the faculties themselves."
"There are some issues that are better suited for the University to decide, but some are better suited for the people to determine in each of the local units--different people, different kinds of employees. Policies and services need to be tailored to those environments," said McKinney.
Vice President for Finance Robert H. Scott, who oversees Bickal's work, said he thinks Bickal will be well suited to the job.
Decentralization and labor relations "require care, attention to detail, careful planning, and imagination, and Bob has all of those qualities," Scott said.
"Setting up the mechanisms that make a complex collective bargaining agreement work effectively" will be his greatest challenge, said Bickal.
Bickal is replacing Anne Taylor, who resigned last year to return to her previous position as a lawyer in the general council's office. She said she had never intended to spend a long time in the post.
"I originally left in '87 to help Bob Scott when the University needed short-term assistance," Taylor said. "Then the union campaign started and I got involved working in that. And the short time turned into a long time, and events just kept happening."
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