The Harvard University Library Executive Director Helen Shenton just announced a plan to restructure the Harvard library system and make it more efficient and high-tech. She plans to fund this by laying off some workers and restructuring the jobs of others. She threatened to cut jobs by “voluntary and involuntary means,” and terrified library workers by refusing to provide details about the plan and recommending that they upload their resumes online.

Read the petition HERE.

DoubleTree Campaign: Open Letter to Drew Faust

Nov. 8, 2013

Dear President Faust,

In 2005, Harvard University bought the DoubleTree Hotel, located in Allston close to the Harvard Business School. In March of 2013, workers at the hotel petitioned management asking for a fair process to decide on unionization and to be treated with the respect that they deserve. They have accused management of extreme overwork1 and complained of the inability of many workers to afford the company health insurance plan for their families. Over 70% of workers signed the petition, and they have continued to fight for a fair process at the hotel.

This fair process has historically been respected on Harvard’s multiple campuses, but has not been respected at Harvard’s DoubleTree Hotel. For instance, in late 2011, cafeteria workers at Harvard Law School who were employed by Restaurant Associates began the process of joining UNITE HERE Local 26. Since labor costs would be passed on to the university, the subcontractor deferred to Harvard, and the administration allowed the workers to proceed without interference.2

The large gap between working conditions here on campus, where Harvard maintains good relations with workers and their unions, and working conditions at a property that earns Harvard upwards of $20 million a year3, is unprincipled. This university cannot in good conscience claim neutral moral ground on this issue; in addition to its financial gain off the pain of hotel workers, Harvard demonstrated its active ownership of the hotel in 2011, when Harvard Real Estate Services negotiated an agreement with American DG to install a more environmentally friendly electrical system. At that time Ted Mayer, Assistant Vice President for Harvard’s Hospitality and Dining Services, noted, “This is a win for Harvard and a win for the environment.”4 Harvard now faces another opportunity to create a win for Harvard and a win for workers at the DoubleTree Hotel by supporting a fair process for workers to decide on unionization.

Harvard, Don't Reinvest in HEI!

SLAM is requesting that Harvard not reinvest in HEI Hotels and Resorts.

Workers at HEI Hotels have been organizing around issues of low wages, poor benefits, workplace injuries, missing compensation and lacking breaks. HEI has also been accused of anti-union activities. We have prepared a report detailing the unethical nature of HEI’s business plan and explaining a history of intimidation of union activists, low wages, and poor benefits in HEI-managed hotels.

As students at Harvard, we are expected to behave in a socially responsible manner. We may only hope that this university uses its own immense economic and political power to advance causes beneficial for the university’s reputation of social responsibility and justice in society.

Many students also support non-reinvestment in HEI. The February 8, 2011 Crimson Staff editorial declared, “This should go without saying, but Harvard should advocate for workers' rights in the companies it invests in. Unions play a valuable role in maintaining fair working standards for employees, and the allegations that HEI is hindering their presence within its hotels should call Harvard’s relations with the company into question.” As of now, 17 student groups have cosigned our letter to the administration.

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