HUCTWHarvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers
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The book concludes with a description of the HUCTW's "unique labor agreement." Hoerr interprets the initial negotiating process as a continuation of the union's organizing style.
Conversely, AFSCME's blank check approach (eight years after the election, fifteen HUCTW staff remained on the national payroll) is mentioned only in passing.
Even the book's ultimate conclusion, that the HUCTW represents a unique feminine model of unionism, is not subjected to serious scrutiny.
Harvard certainly did mount an anti-union campaign, but HUCTW met Harvard's anti-unionism with patience, nonviolence and preparatory sessions for the employees.
The hallmark of the HUCTW "feminine model" is their union contract which is an unfettered philosophical statement for non-adversarial, "partnership" labor relations.
The innovative structures included Joint Councils at departmental levels for participation in policy-making, led by a university-wide "UJC." While these arrangements and HUCTW's practice of ongoing organizing of members resulted in an impressive 10 percent of members involved and active (compared to 1 or 2 percent in most unions), the Joint Councils are not without problems.
One could argue that the Harvard trio saw in HUCTW's non-adversarial approach a chance to develop a sophisticated model of union containment based on giving the illusion of power sharing (by letting workers have input in narrow operational issues), but keeping off-limits the University's most vital matters--its $11 billion endowment and decisions on capital expenditures.
It is telling and ironic that both Hoerr and HUCTW leaders see their "feminist" model as breaking new ground.
The history of earlier organizing in the auto industry (from the teens to the Second World War) is a virtual manual on one-on-one organizing like HUCTW's.
It is worth noting that there appears to be little evidence that the HUCTW "feminist model" has been taken outside the workplace and brought back to the women's movement which desperately needs to make itself relevant to nonprofessional working women.
This Understanding welcomes the support staff in libraries, in laboratories, and in academic and administrative offices and centers, represented by HUCTW, as a valued and essential participant in this process.
HUCTW's experience should make us wary on that front, even if its persistent, women's organizing method can teach and inspire us.