Karen O'Brien

Outsourcing at Harvard

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Karen O'Brien
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To HUCTW leadership

Outsourcing is bad for labor and bad for the Harvard community.

For years, Harvard University has been taking work from union staff and outsourcing it to temporary workers and contractors.

The Harvard Library has been in the lead in the adoption of outsourcing. While actively reducing the number of Library staff, important work such as cataloging, processing and even some selection is ceded to book vendors and for-profit companies. A portion of Harvard cataloging is done by workers in India instead of locally-employed skilled staff.

Harvard’s anti-labor stance is evident in other ways: they are attempting to pass on healthcare costs to workers, they have consistently opposed unionization efforts on campus and have engaged in union-busting by eliminating union work.

Outsourcing here is unnecessary and it is immoral. Outsourcing the work of the library is harmful to the collections, and to those who rely on them.

The Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers is the largest union of Harvard staff. It can and should take the lead in opposing Harvard’s anti-union actions. Informal discussions with Harvard on outsourcing have gone nowhere. The leadership of HUCTW should formally ask Harvard to bargain over outsourcing and demand an immediate halt to all outsourcing efforts to allow for this negotiation.

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