TODAY: Rally for Workers' Rights, 4pm, Holyoke Center
Join us today at 4:00 p.m. in solidarity with workers as we rally to voice our opposition to many of the recent cutbacks. We will gather in front of the Holyoke Center to reaffirm our commitment to those members of our community hit hardest by recent administrative decisions and let Harvard know that the campaign for transparency, dialogue, and alternative solutions to layoffs and injurious cutbacks has not been buried by the summer months. If the following issues speak to you, it is important that you attend this rally.
The cuts instituted by the university have affected workers in unimaginable ways, beyond the numbers we have become accustomed to reading about—the 275 layoffs occurring over the summer. Harvard and its respective vendors have not only laid off employees, but cut hours, reshuffled schedules, and effectively increased workloads. Consider the custodian who works at a river house and has suffered a 12.5% cut in his hours. Those hours were needed to cover his family's cost of living. Without it he must find a second job, but he fears that Harvard will cut his hours only more if he does so. He's afraid to even speak out on the matter.
Or what about the employee who already works a second job? The university has instituted a scheduling change that requires custodians to be available throughout the week; their work hours will change with each cycle. Many will have to abandon their second jobs, which they depended on to make ends meet, and now with decreased hours.
Consider how work has changed for employees after the layoffs and hour cuts. Buildings must still be cleaned as they were the year before, so management has required remaining workers complete the same aggregate sums of work with less time—a speed-up. This practice endangers the health and safety of many workers. Consider the custodian who recently tore a ligament after the stress of carrying more trash, cleaning more floors, and with less time. The bruises on the arm of another tells a similar story.
Under no circumstances should we compromise the health and safety of workers. Yet, Harvard has chosen to do so, without any consideration of salary cuts for the university's highest paid employees—high-level administrators, financial officers, and our faculty, whose average salary is more than $12,000 higher than Princeton's. The university not only refuses to consider alternative budget cutting mechanisms, but it has even resisted open dialogue on the matter. The university and its vendors have slashed hours without notifying the union, and even now have decided not to sit down with workers and union organizers to discuss hour cuts or the implementation of a more flexible schedule. Instead, Harvard has placed an embargo on this sort of information.
As a university that strives to foster open dialogue and creative problem-solving, Harvard has failed this mission over the past months. If Harvard refuses to create genuine channels of discussion over these issues, then we must amplify our voice more loudly until Harvard is forced to listen.
Please, join us today at 4:00 pm in front of the Holyoke Center.
Student Labor Action Movement