Charge to the Committee


May 8, 2001

The committee will have a broad mandate to consider and to present recommendations about University principles and policies regarding the economic welfare and opportunities of lower-paid workers at Harvard, both those employed directly by the University and those employed by companies that contract to provide on-campus services to the University.

The committee should carry out its work in view of the University's continuing recognition that Harvard's employment practices should reflect a humane concern for the well-being of all individuals who work here. The University, in addition, is an institution with a commitment to careful inquiry and thoughtful deliberation, as well as self-examination in the light of experience. The committee should approach its task in that spirit, mindful of the need to gather accurate information and to listen fully to different points of view. It should think both creatively and realistically about how a university that aspires to the highest standards in education and research can define principles and policies that help it to advance the well-being of people whose often-unheralded efforts do so much to help the institution function from day to day.

The committee is specifically charged as follows:

The committee should discuss, debate, and make recommendations concerning the principles and policies that should guide the University's employment practices in regard to the total compensation and opportunities available to lower-paid members of Harvard's workforce, including full-time, part-time, and temporary employees. In considering such a framework of principles, the committee should take account of wages, benefits, and other terms of employment (including access to education and training) in themselves and in relation to one another. Among other things, the committee will be asked to consider a full range of views and to express its own view regarding the principled basis, desirability, and feasibility of an internal uniform wage floor for workers at Harvard. The committee should consider and make recommendations concerning guidelines for the 'outsourcing' or 'contracting out' of services performed at the University. In its deliberations, the committee should consider policies to guide University decisions on whether or not to outsource certain services performed at Harvard. It should also consider policies to guide units of the University when they do undertake to outsource on-campus services, including the principled basis, desirability, and feasibility of adopting standards for the wages, benefits, or other terms of employment provided to contractors' on-campus employees.

The committee is expected to ground its consideration of principles and guidelines in a thorough examination of factual data both Harvard-specific and comparative regarding wages, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment, as well as existing contracts for the outsourcing of on-campus services. Among the information that may be pertinent are data on wages and benefits provided to workers performing comparable functions at other institutions of higher education in the Boston area; on the cost of living in Boston-area communities; on the demographics and length of service of Harvard employees; and on the relative compensation of union and non-union employees, employed directly by Harvard or by service providers. The committee will also be expected to examine existing relevant Harvard policies both University-wide and unit-specific as background for its inquiry, and to take account of policies in place at comparable institutions. While regarding the May 2000 report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Employment Policies as a significant point of reference, the present committee should not consider itself limited by the data, observations, or recommendations presented in that prior report.

The committee will be expected to conduct broad outreach across the University community, actively soliciting, both in person and otherwise, the views of interested faculty, staff (including service workers), and students who wish to contribute their perspectives on these matters. The intention is to create a fully inclusive process in which all voices within the University community may be heard and considered.

Throughout its deliberations, the committee should be mindful of the role of collective bargaining as the legally mandated means by which employers and unionized employees, through their representatives, jointly determine the specific terms and conditions of employment for such employees. The committee's task is concerned, in substantial part, with making recommendations about a framework of principles and policies within which the University should conduct collective bargaining--as distinct from seeking, through the committee process, to engage directly in such bargaining.

The committee will meet for at least one planning session before June 8, 2001. At that meeting, the committee will direct staff to gather needed data over the summer month so that the committee will be in a position to begin informed deliberations at the beginning of the Fall 2001 academic term. The committee's report and recommendations should be presented to the President of the University by December 19, 2001 (or sooner, if feasible). After receiving the committee's report and recommendations, the President will promptly invite comment and consult with the Faculties, the Deans, and others before taking action.