This week in Harvard Labor


I.  SEAS of Change or Same Old Story

Labor gathers in support of Joan Frankel; Holyoke Center, Harvard Rally in support of Joan Frankel @ Holyoke Center, Harvard.

Joan Frankel, a 25 year employee of what was the Division of Applied Science, has been told that she’s terminated next Wedesday. Perhaps not with ‘Extreme prejudice’ as in ‘Apocalypse Now’, but despite A+ performance ratings upto and including June 2009, she’s being fast tracked for dismissal. Joan is a member in good standing of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, also known as the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 3650. Labor from Harvard and beyond, gathered in support of her in front of Harvard’s Holyoke Center.

The reincarnation of The Division as The School of Engineering and Applied Science [SEAS] was presided over by former Dean Venkatesh “Venky” Narayanamurti1. In October of 2009, the new dean, Cherry Murray called the School together in the first “all-hands” meeting.  According to the Crimson,  an anonymous question was posed to her:

When she came to an anonymous question asking for more financial and accounting assistants, Murray asked, “That was you, Harry, wasn’t it?” causing Associate Dean of Finances Harry E. Dumay to smile and shake his head amid laughter.

Whether it was Harry or not, somebody thought the financial office was understaffed.  But to fire it’s most experienced [and ‘expensive’] employee and hire perhaps two younger [and ‘less expensive’] people is short sighted at best.

Joan Frankel in front of Pierce Hall where she works.
Joan Frankel in front of Pierce Hall where she works.

1If necessary, I apologize to the Indian community, by which I mean Professor Homi Science is ultimately metaphor. Religion pertains to the provably unliteral. I rather like the idea that I am a tributary of the same stream as you. It is less embarassing than the idea that the Deity created Laws of Combustion and then violated them to prove He [:)] was there. But I had to satisfy a most fundamental urge – the pursuit of comedy.

II. Ratification Election of the HUCTW Contract.

Today, Thursday July 22, 2010, Harvard’s largest Union votes on the proposed contract for the next the next two years. I’ll have a more detailed look at the proposal in the next hour or two. The short form:

  • Work Security contract language  has improved infinitesimally over it’s grossly inadequate form in 2001.
  • Work Security in actual practice, as anyone who reads the Crimson knows,  has gotten dramatically worse is likely to continue in that direction.

More real soon now. Y’all come back now, hear?

G8, G20, or the World? Shout Out for Global Justice
Another oil rig “engulfed in flames” in the Gulf of Mexico.

1 Comment »

  1. the guy by the door … » Blog Archive » ¡Ya basta!

    September 20, 2010 @ 8:48 pm


    […] roughly ‘Enough is enough! Offered by local singer-songwriter Evan Greer to a rally for fired Harvard worker Joan Frankel,  it energized the first labor action of the new […]

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