Jeff: The campaign has leafleted the community and done outreach to co-workers. We leafleted at a HUCTW rally and intervened with a No Layoffs banner and leaflets at a speech by Larry Summers, the president of Harvard.
In the past year, nearly 100 workers have been laid off by Harvard University, and many other jobs have been eliminated through attrition. Harvard claims it is in financial crisis, yet its $19.3 billion endowment makes it the richest university in the world.
Members of Socialist Alternative working at Harvard and other union members helped start the No Layoffs Campaign. Harvard student activist DAN DIMAGGIO from Justice interviewed Jeff Booth and Tom Potter of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW), AFSCME Local 3650.
See also, a report published in Crimson, the Havard University newspaper. socialistworld.net.
No to layoffs at Harvard
What has the No Layoffs Campaign done so far?
Tom: Another campaign member and I ran for the union Executive Board on a no layoffs platform, and we’ve built up support among faculty and students.
Are you being personally threatened with being laid-off?
Jeff: Yes, and they threatened more layoffs after June, the end of the fiscal year. So we all have a gun pointed at us. Most Harvard workers, myself included, live paycheck to paycheck. Our pay does not keep up with the horrific housing costs and other, inflated basic living expenses in the Boston area.
What has the union leadership done about the layoffs?
Tom: The union leadership is making these wimpy statements which are making the problem worse. They are colluding with management to make the layoffs go smoothly.
What’s next for the No Layoffs Campaign?
Jeff: We have an important rally on February 26. That rally is going to be an opportunity to get out the word to the public more and show that there are a lot of workers who aren’t going to take this lying down despite the inaction of the union leadership.
The No Layoffs Campaign rally was a tremendous success, with 125 workers, students, and faculty in attendance. Workers facing layoffs spoke out against the devastating impact layoffs will have on their lives, and chanted "Lay off Larry!" (the president of the university, former World Bank chief economist Larry Summers).
Pictures from No Layoffs camapaign rally by Marilyn Humphries