Solidarity Rally with Harvard Employee Marvin Byrd

Occupy Harvard stands in solidarity with all Harvard workers in their fight to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace.

Today, Thursday 12/1, we will  join members of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) in a rally outside the Holyoke Center at 5PM and ask Harvard not to discriminate against disabled employees. Facebook event here–and no Harvard ID required!

Geoff Carens of HUCTW sent us this information:

Marvin Byrd has worked in Harvard’s Science Center mail room since 1995. He was hired first as a “casual” worker, and then into a union position in 2008. Partially-disabled, Marvin wears foot orthotics and custom-made shoes; he has always been reliable, responsible and dependable in his job. When he applied for a better-paid position in 2007 he was passed over, despite being an internal candidate. He has lived on an income derived from 29 hours a week, since being hired into a Mail Clerk I position in the lowest salary grade in the union.

This year management made Marvin pick from three harsh choices: a cut to 25 hours spread over six work days, an even-worse cut to 20 hours over a 5-day week, or losing his job completely. Feeling he had little choice, Marvin picked the 25-hour schedule, which meant diminished pay and getting just one day off from work. Marvin has a grueling commute on public transportation, which management knew about before cutting his hours and income. No one else in his unit faced any change to their scheduled hours, and no one else had to accept a regular schedule of six days per week.

Marvin now has to get on the bus in Lynn at 7:30 a.m. to get to work at Harvard by 10. He typically gets just 4-5 hours of work and then has to get back on the T for his journey home. He can’t get another part-time job to make up for the cut in his income, because he only has one day off from Harvard. Marvin has less money to live on; the cut in pay was immediate with no transition, and immediately affected Marvin’s ability to meet his obligations in leading his daily life. Campus workers believe Harvard managers are trying to push Marvin out of his job.

This Thursday, December 1, union members, students, and concerned members of the community will hold a demonstration of our support for Marvin. We’ll meet starting at 5 p.m. in front of Holyoke Center, 1350 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (right next to Au Bon Pain). Click here for a map. Please join us if you can! Riot-Folk artist Evan Greer will perform at the action.

In Solidarity,

Geoff Carens, Union Rep, Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers/HUCTW

Banner at Occupy Harvard: Justice for Marvin Byrd!

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This entry was posted in General.

One comment on “Solidarity Rally with Harvard Employee Marvin Byrd

  1. Valerie Thomas says:

    I sympathize with Marvin (my dad’s name too), however, like any other person he can look for another job and quit this one. He can also contact a lawyer (through legal aid seeing he clearly can’t afford one) and check into the possibility of a discrimination suit. I do applaud your support and demonstration which will bring attention and interest to either or both of the options I mention. I also assume Marvin could probably be collecting SSI or SSDI instead of choosing to work and I wonder what the difference between his pay and his benefit would be. Maybe he would be better off collecting and then volunteering for something that brings him joy as opposed to struggle and lack of appreciation and validation for the effort he has put in for the past 16 years. I wish him the best. Valerie Thomas, Chicopee, MA

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