Monday, March 19, 2012

Open Letter to HUCTW Leadership from the No Layoffs Campaign

The following is a letter sent to the HUCTW leadership (Bill Jaeger, Tasha Williams, Donene Williams, Carrie Barbash,, Laura Ebenstein, Pam Mullaney, Lynnwang Delacey) on Friday, March 9, 2012.  As of today, we have not received a reply.  Any response to this we plan on publishing in its entirety here as well.

Dear HUCTW members, elected leaders, and organizers,

We, the Harvard No Layoffs Campaign, consisting of many HUCTW activists and rank and file members are sending this letter to urge action and cooperation in fighting library layoffs.

On January 19th, 2012 Harvard announced that they intended to reduce the Library workforce. While you began your discussions with Harvard about the downsizing, the No Layoffs campaign started a public campaign to draw attention to Harvard’s plan to lay workers off.  We:

·         Rallied against a Harvard “Community Conversation” with Occupy Harvard students and concerned community members (Jan. 25)
·         Rallied/protested with 100+ union members, students, faculty and community members Feb. 9th in Harvard Square
·         Picketed on Feb. 16th in support of Occupy Harvard site in Lamont (see OCCUPY BOSTON link below)
·         Reached out to the Cambridge City Council for support opposing Harvard layoffs/bad business practice
·         Engaged with Harvard’s SLAM movement (Student Labor Action Movement) and OCCUPY Harvard movement
·         Reached out to media
·         Initiated petitions to support Research Librarians and to oppose Layoffs
·     Picketed with scores of supporters on March 1, during a snow shower.

Union members want coordinated, united action against these layoffs.  We all want to see HUCTW mobilizing its membership and working with the No Layoffs Campaign, SLAM, Occupy Harvard, UNITE-HERE and SEIU.

We welcome the recent open letter and that you have just announced some outreach but we seek clarification on how exactly you see the plan unfolding. The open letter described the problems with Harvard's plan, but did not describe what our response will be. We call on you (as leaders of HUCTW) to initiate and support visible actions and aggressively establish coalitions with other unions on campus.  We hope that you will expand on your written communications with members by calling an emergency membership meeting with quorum so that we can plan a campaign.

Our publicity and all this exposure has had an impact on Harvard. Bill Murphy has admitted as much. This is evidenced in the administration's attacks on OCCUPY Harvard’s free speech  and by their refusal to even meet with staff (canceling an open meeting and making it an online chat).

We ask you to:

·         Call an emergency, campus-wide membership meeting (with quorum) to plan out how HUCTW will fight this round of layoffs
·         Organize visibility actions and encourage HUCTW members to attend
·         Support No Layoffs events and initiatives
·         Reach out to work with OCCUPY Harvard and SLAM students on campus
·         Build active coalitions with other unions on campus
·     Immediately set a date for the largest possible rally of HUCTW members against management's threats to cut the jobs of library workers.

We all agree that a Library Reorganization must not result in job loss.  You already know that another round of support staff layoffs (after the 21% reduction in 2009) will result in ruined lives, will have a horrible impact on the Harvard community and result in a significant loss in union dues and power.  We can save jobs if we work together to mobilize the members.

In Solidarity,

-The No Layoffs Campaign

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