Workers' Response Mixed But Mostly Supportive


Members of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers interviewed yesterday had mixed responses to the contract settlement reached Wednesday.

Some members said they were very pleased by the settlement. "I think it's great," said Lorraine DiSessa, who works at Widener Library.

"I'm happy we're getting our money soon," DiSessa added. "I'll definitely vote for it to go in."

Her sentiments were echoed by her coworker Chris Hall, who said, "I'm very pleased with the results. It did take six months but it looks like a very positive agreement."

Several workers said they were pleasantly surprised by the terms of the contract. "We did a lot better than I expected. The pay raises are better than I thought," observed library worker June Rutkowski.


"I'm glad we got more money for education," noted Widener employee Ann Norton.

However, some Union members had less enthusiastic reactions to the new settlement. Several commented that they believe an agreement could, and should, have been reached more quickly.

In addition, one library worker who spoke on condition of anonymity said, "We feel that the University could have given more. The University is taking advantage of a slow job market."

Despite this, the worker said she would "probably support [the settlement]."

"We all need the raise," she said.

Certain aspects of the settlement were also a source of disappointment for some. Library worker Ingrid Ahlberg said she was unhappy with the contract's child care benefits, consisting of a scholarship fund to distribute $240,000 in need-based child care aid over a three year period.

"My daycare alone is $10,000, one seventh of what 3,500 people have access to in the entire first year," said Ahlberg.

Other workers expressed concern over the loss of merit increases, and one, Ann Norton, criticized the media's coverage of the settlement. "The way it's been reported to the press makes it seem like we got a better deal than we did," Norton said.

Despite their varying reactions to the settlement, most workers indicated that they would support the new contract. And several said they were anxious to begin reaping its benefits.

"Most of us would like to know when it will take effect," said payroll office worker Elizabeth Samedi.