Sunday, November 15, 2009

Geoff Carens

GEOFF CARENS
FOR WIDENER
UNION REP + FAS/ARTS
EXECUTIVE BOARD

HUCTW members active in the No Layoffs Campaign are running for Executive Board in three out of five campus regions. We're fielding candidates for Union Representative in several areas. The No Layoffs Campaign seeks to send the message that our union doesn't have to accept job losses, worsening conditions and low raises.

Since the rumors began last spring that union members would face layoffs, we've organized a series of effective rallies that have gotten local, national, and international press. Our actions and the resulting media coverage have put healthy pressure on the university, and may have dissuaded management from making deeper cuts. Serious problems remain, and part of the reason I'm running for office is to call attention to them, and start a dialog about how we can make progress as a union.

Of the (at least) 115 HUCTW members who were laid off this year, only 49 have been placed in regular (not temp) positions. We need a major initiative to get laid-off workers re-hired! Ă…fter so many employees have retired or lost their jobs, others who remain face increased workloads, often without any additional compensation. Overtime has been eliminated in many departments. Job descriptions have been rewritten. Some HUCTW members have even been "furloughed" --forced to take time off without pay! We need advocates who will represent union members forcefully and effectively. As a Rep, I fight hard, always on the worker's side, and I get good results and win victories.

Harvard will push for concessions in our next contract. I believe we need to counter any pressure to accept less with a strong, determined approach. Our union should publicly oppose layoffs. We should push for good raises, seniority rights, and a cost-of-living adjustment. The Executive Board is the body that currently makes the major decisions on union policy. As a member of the E-Board, I will argue for an assertive approach that puts the needs of union members first.

The E-Board and Rep elections will be held December 8. Between now and then, candidates from the No Layoffs Campaign will be meeting as many union members as we can. To learn more about our effort to strengthen the union, and elect leaders who will be responsive to union members' wants and needs, please contact me anytime at geoff.carens@gmail.com.

-Geoff Carens