[act-ma] Protest racial discrimination at Harvard University! TODAY 12:30 p.m. Holyoke Center, 1350 Mass. Ave.

Geoff Carens geoff.carens at gmail.com
Tue May 19 07:09:24 PDT 2009

Dear All,
Having been a Union Rep for about 20 years at Harvard, I've seen a lot of
mistreatment of workers. However the case of Ravi Raj stands out as a
shocking example of racial discrimination.

Ravi, an immigrant from India, came to Harvard with superb credentials and
got a decent job as in IT support. He has always gotten many compliments
from co-workers for his excellent and efficient work. A couple years ago,
Ravi got a new boss. He began to be subjected to racial slurs ("f-----g
towelhead," etc.).  His office was taken away. At one point he was told that
he was fired (senior managers over-ruled this). He noticed that all the
other IT associates were given cell phones purchased by Harvard (except for
Ravi). He was yelled at frequently in the workplace. Although Ravi
repeatedly alerted senior managers about the racial discrimination he
experienced, things just kept getting worse. He received unfair discipline
and decided to make a formal complaint about the discrimination.

The day Ravi had a meeting set up to make the formal complaint, a
much-larger man appeared in the building where Ravi was working, called him
by name,  told him he had "taken the wrong path," and should "watch out,"
along with other threatening statements. In all my experience as a Rep,
having some goon appear in the workplace to make anonymous threats, a few
hours before a worker is scheduled to make a formal complaint of
discrimination, is a real departure. Many activists in my union regard it as
a very dangerous development. It's been reported to the police. The union
side has *proven* that Ravi did not do the things he's being disciplined

Management is ignoring this and letting the bogus discipline against Ravi
stand, placing his job in jeopardy.

Today we will try to get their attention, and deliver the news that our
community will not tolerate racism, and intimidation against those who speak
out against it! Please join us today (Tuesday May 19) at 12:30 p.m. in front
of Holyoke Center, 1350 Mass. Ave. (next to Au Bon Pain).

Email protests may be sent to: Harvard's Director of Labor Relations Bill
Murphy at bill_murphy at harvard.edu. Pls. cc:geoff.carens at gmail.com. Suggested
text: "I demand that all discrimination and intimidation against Ravi Raj
immediately cease. Ravi should not be subject to unfair discipline, and
deserves a supporting work environment!"

In Solidarity,

Geoff Carens, Union Rep, HUCTW/AFSCME local 3650
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