Labor Alliance Urges Student Support

Union Invokes Fights Against Racism, Sexism; To Bring Jesse Jackson to Campus

Leaders of the Harvard-Radcliffe Labor Alliance last night urged undergraduates to familiarize themselves with labor issues, starting with the negotiations now going on at the University.

The Alliance, a division of Phillips Brooks House Association's Committee for Economic Change, sponsored a discussion called "Is Harvard Anti-Worker?" last night in the Harvard Union.

Joshua E. Burstein '93, co-chair of the Alliance, answered that question in the affirmative, charging Harvard with condoning poor conditions for its workers.

"Harvard proves again and again that it falls short," Burstein said, citing low wages, absence of quality health care and "racist hiring practices" for Harvard workers.

"Being anti-union means being anti-worker," Burstein said.


The forum also featured speakers Kris Rondeau and Sue M. Dynarski '87, members of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW), who questioned what they characterized as a "we care" message from the University.

In the course of the forum, Rondeau said HUCTW will bring the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson to campus on December 1 to speak on labor issues.

"There have been a lot and a lot of '-isms' in Harvard's long history," Rondeau said, calling efforts to combat racism and sexism partially successful.

But elitism, she said, "the idea that the truly brilliant and interesting people are running the University still exists tremendously."

Rondeau said that, up through 1956, University policy officially deemed workers as "servants," an idea that she said continues to linger.

Nearly all of the 16 students and workers present at the forum refrained from harshly criticizing President Neil L. Rudenstine, saying that he is concerned about unions but restrained in acting on their behalf.

"There is no way he can't understand what is going on with the workers here," Burstein said. "But he is new and he does not want to make waves yet."

Although the HUTCH contract expired June 30, negotiations concerning payincreases, health benefits, women's concerns anddomestic partners have been stalled despite twoprotests and three letter-writing campaigns.

"We have a responsibility as a union to put ourworkers in the strongest economic position,"Rondeau said. "That shouldn't be too hard for awealthy institution. Negotiations are ongoing,Rondeau said, but the union now recognizes a needfor greater student support. Students, she said,can make sure that no one is left out of the"equation."

"Students don't necessarily notice that thereare workers at Harvard--people with lives,concerns and needs," Dynarski said.

"It doesn't matter what you do as long as youdo something," said Rondeau, calling upon studentsto put up stickers and signs and attend protestsand meetings