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NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

In 1983, the last time the University met with Harvard Dining Services (HDS) workers for contract negotiations at the Local 26 union headquarters in downtown Boston, talks broke down and ended in a strike.

Both sides will meet at that union hall again June 19 for the final scheduled round of the most recent series of negotiations.

Labor leaders are preparing for the worst and threatening another strike.

Workers are angered by the attempts of Timothy Manning, Harvard's chief negotiator and director of labor relations, to gain more flexibility in hiring non-union, non-local subcontractors.

Union leaders have responded that the use of subcontractors would erode jobs and reduce work opportunities for current employees.

"If they don't pull [subcontracting] off the table, there will be a strike," said Domenic M. Bozzotto, president of Hotel Workers Local 26, which represents Harvard's 554 dining services employees.

HDS workers went on strike in 1983 and 1986 in response to Harvard's attempts to hire subcontractors.

Three weeks ago, HDS employees granted their negotiating team permission to call a strike if a contract is not reached by June 19.

Office of Human Resources spokesperson Merry Touborg refused to discuss current negotiations, saying only that they are proceeding "timely and orderly."

Several union stewards, speaking on condition of anonymity, said workers are eyeing Manning with apprehension.

This contract is the first in which HDS workers will sit across the table from Manning, who has a background in industrial labor relations.

"I have respect for him, but I think he looks at us the way an executive at General Motors would--as means of production, not as people," said one steward.

Responding to a University spokesperson's comment that Harvard is committed to "a level playing field between union and non-union workers," the steward said HDS employees "have no illusions that Harvard is negotiating in good faith."

Fanning the Flames

Support from other local unions and from Harvard students has inspired dining service workers.

When 140 members of Harvard's seven unions traveled to Yale for a Memorial Day rally, they joined 3,500 other protesters from across the country.

HDS union steward Edward Childs said the New Haven rally boosted morale by demonstrating the depth of union solidarity.

Yale employees have rallied at Harvard previously, and they will travel to Cambridge again if needed, said Yale union steward Robert Smith.

"Just give the word," Smith said. "We've gone other places. We just get the buses and go. That's what this is all about."

In a year marked by feverish levels of activism, undergraduates have marched with union employees several times.

"When it's on campus and you know the people, students will get involved," said Matthew L. Mayers '97, a member of several student activist groups.

Democratic politicans have focused on labor issues in seeking to regain both branches of Congress this November.

And as Harvard nears its June 6 commencement without a contract for HDS employees, union members plan to portray Harvard as a $7 billion institution which is unsympathetic to common laborers, Childs said.

Workers plan to distribute informational leaflets at graduation, Childs said. Protests after June 19 would be more heated, he said.

"Last time [HDS workers went on strike], we seized Holyoke Center, and we won the strike," Childs said. "We might have to look at something dramatic again.

When 140 members of Harvard's seven unions traveled to Yale for a Memorial Day rally, they joined 3,500 other protesters from across the country.

HDS union steward Edward Childs said the New Haven rally boosted morale by demonstrating the depth of union solidarity.

Yale employees have rallied at Harvard previously, and they will travel to Cambridge again if needed, said Yale union steward Robert Smith.

"Just give the word," Smith said. "We've gone other places. We just get the buses and go. That's what this is all about."

In a year marked by feverish levels of activism, undergraduates have marched with union employees several times.

"When it's on campus and you know the people, students will get involved," said Matthew L. Mayers '97, a member of several student activist groups.

Democratic politicans have focused on labor issues in seeking to regain both branches of Congress this November.

And as Harvard nears its June 6 commencement without a contract for HDS employees, union members plan to portray Harvard as a $7 billion institution which is unsympathetic to common laborers, Childs said.

Workers plan to distribute informational leaflets at graduation, Childs said. Protests after June 19 would be more heated, he said.

"Last time [HDS workers went on strike], we seized Holyoke Center, and we won the strike," Childs said. "We might have to look at something dramatic again.

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