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Harvard Police Union Alleges Work Schedule Bid Process Violated Contract

Harvard University Police Department Chief Francis D. Bud Riley announced in May that officers would begin working an extra day each week effective Nov. 21.
Harvard University Police Department Chief Francis D. Bud Riley announced in May that officers would begin working an extra day each week effective Nov. 21. By Zadoc I. N. Gee
By Ema R. Schumer, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard’s police union filed a grievance with the University Wednesday alleging the force’s leadership violated the union’s collective bargaining agreement when it set in motion a new work schedule for officers, marking the latest episode in a prolonged conflict between the union and the outgoing chief of police.

Harvard University Police Department Chief Francis D. “Bud” Riley announced in May that officers would begin working an extra day each week effective Nov. 21. That announcement led the union to file a pair of grievances — one in June, and one on Wednesday.

In a Sept. 24 email, Deputy Chief Kevin Regan notified officers that the department anticipated holding a “bid” in October to determine officers’ on-duty shifts in light of the forthcoming work schedule. The union’s collective bargaining agreement stipulates HUPD can hold two bids per year during the months of February and August, respectively.

Harvard University Police Association Secretary Michael E. Davenport and Treasurer Louis W. Favreau claimed in the grievance that the department violated the union’s contract by holding a bid outside of those permitted times. Favreau and Davenport also alleged the department violated officers’ rights as outlined in their contract by not allowing officers to choose their preferred shift — including night, day, and evening — and on-duty days.

University spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain declined to comment on the union’s grievance.

The change in work schedule will affect the roughly thirty officers who work patrol.

Three of those officers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, said the department’s unilateral actions will impinge on their home lives. Under the new schedule, officers will be forced to work five consecutive days per week — rather than four — followed by two days off. The new system will also deny most officers weekends off from work.

The June grievance disputes Riley’s claim that the department changed officers’ work schedules due to financial necessity.

Officers alleged Riley used the COVID-19 crisis as a pretext to retaliate against the union for filing labor relations complaints with the federal government and against individual officers who told The Crimson Riley perpetuated a racist and sexist culture within the department. Riley is slated to retire at the end of the calendar year.

The union will meet the University in arbitration beginning Dec. 18.

—Staff writer Ema R. Schumer can be reached at ema.schumer@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @emaschumer.

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