On Thursday, May 29, starting at 1 pm, workers, students and supporters will hold a visibility action at Harvard’s Commencement exercises. We will meet at the Smith Campus Center, 1350 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, steps from the Harvard Square Red Line MBTA station. Our action will begin shortly before a speech by right-wing, anti-union billionaire and ex-NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Please join us! The Facebook event is here.
We will let attendees know about the following cases of campus worker mistreatment:
Johany Pilar, who sued Harvard for sexual harassment, has faced threats and retaliation in Campus Services, where she was called an “embarrassing Latina,” by the boss. Johany has been denied a transfer out of the department where she was repeatedly harassed.
Marvin Byrd, referred to as “that dirty black man,” by the same administrator, has been relegated to the lowest salary grade of any union member in his department, despite long service & a good work record. Marvin, who is partially disabled, has recently faced threats of termination.
The same Campus Services boss also demoted HUCTW Rep Nassim Kerkache three salary grades, because his English supposedly wasn’t good enough for the job he’d done for 9 years! Nassim defended his co-workers, and the reward for his activism was to be downgraded and stripped of his responsibilities.
Judy Rouse was terminated for being a diligent shop steward in Campus Services, an environment where managers referred to workers of color as “animals” and “monkeys.” Judy faced threats at work, called the HU Police Dept, and was subsequently fired, and slapped with a no-trespass order by the HUPD.
Long-serving Maintenance Technician Paul Casey was laid off soon after returning from a disability leave, supposedly for “lack of work,” even though he was very busy in his job. Paul’s duties were simply distributed to other workers, and colleagues are sure he was laid off due to his needing surgery and having to take a leave.
These abuses must be understood in the context of Harvard’s refusal to even consider divesting from the fossil fuels that directly threaten our planet, despite having a $32.7 billion endowment, massively larger than any other university’s. Harvard’s recent response to a student who dared to protest this moral blindness was to have him arrested. Harvard has come under fire for its huge timber plantation in Argentina, which has wrecked wetlands and mercilessly exploited local workers. The University is also under Federal investigation for its handling of sexual assaults on campus. 100 cases of sexual assault have been reported just over the past three years at Harvard, and activists say Harvard’s horribly flawed investigative process discourages survivors from taking action.
Together, we can put healthy pressure on Harvard to end its immoral and discriminatory behavior! For more information, please click here: http://twoharvards.wordpress.com/about.
Geoff Carens, Union Rep, HUCTW
Delegate, Industrial Workers of the World / IWW