Monday, April 30, 2007

Recent Interaction with the Harvard Administration

On April 23, 2007 we wrote an open letter to President Bok.

On April 27, 2007 the administration responded in a letter [pdf] from Marilyn Hausammann.

On April 30, 2007 we responded [pdf]. Our letter's conclusion is below:

In sum, the members and allies of the Student Labor Action Movement find the University's presently articulated stance on this issue to be unacceptable. If, as it claims, the University truly does support our "shared goals of fair wages, a safe and secure workplace, and a proper grievance procedure for all workers in the Harvard community," then its choice should be clear. The University must choose to renounce its position that it has "no employment relationship" with its security officers and other outsourced workers. It must intervene, as it has many times before, to ensure high labor standards on campus. If the University instead chooses to deny responsibility and allow AlliedBarton to neglect the rights of its employees, it will only demonstrate that the administration does not share our goals in the least.

Harvard may not have directly hired our security guards, but it did directly hire AlliedBarton, and in doing so assumed responsibility for their labor standards. Harvard must hire its subcontractors with the same moral standards with which it hires its direct employees. Anything short of such a position will merely perpetuate the administration’s current policy of evasive rhetoric, convenient exemptions, and moral loopholes. Harvard must send a clear and unambiguous message to AlliedBarton: "treat our security guards fairly, or we'll take our business elsewhere." If Harvard cannot come out and make such a clear and unambiguous statement of moral values by Thursday, May 3, we will hold firm in our promise to begin a hunger strike of indefinite length on that date.