Harvard University: Elements of Future Process

University Committee

President Rudenstine is now constituting a committee to be composed of a faculty chair, ten faculty members, five Harvard staff members (three unionized employees and two administrative and professional staff), and four students (two undergraduate and two graduate/professional). Lawrence Katz, Professor of Economics (FAS), will chair the committee. The additional faculty members are David Ellwood (Kennedy School of Government), Caroline Hoxby (FAS), Daniel Meltzer (Law School), Martha Minow (Law School), Susan Pharr (FAS), Thomas Scanlon (FAS), Marcelo Suarez-Orozco (School of Education), Sidney Verba (FAS), David Wilkins (Law School) and Dyann Wirth (School of Public Health). The three unionized employees are Edward Childs (Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 26), Alexandra Chisholm (HUCTW), and Jean Phane (Service Employees International Union Local 254). The two senior administrators are Bonnie Newman, Executive Dean of the Kennedy School, and Anne Taylor, Vice President and General Counsel. The four students will be nominated by our duly constituted student organizations: two undergraduate students, to be nominated by the Undergraduate Council, and two graduate or professional school students, to be nominated by the Harvard Graduate Council. The committee will be provided appropriate staff. In addition, Professor Emeritus John Dunlop has agreed to serve as senior advisor to the committee.

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.

Collective Bargaining with HERE Local 26 Harvard expresses optimism that the contract negotiations with Local 26 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union will, in the near future, produce a contract that will be mutually satisfactory to the union, its membership, and the University.

Collective Bargaining with SEIU Local 254 On a mutually agreeable date within four weeks following issuance of the committee report, Harvard will begin negotiations with SEIU Local 254 for an agreement to succeed its current collective bargaining agreement. It shall be a goal of the parties to develop through these negotiations a newly strengthened and mutually respectful labor management relationship. To that end, the parties will consider conducting these negotiations using interest-based bargaining and other techniques used with success in the recently concluded negotiations with the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers.

In the event that these negotiations, as informed by the committee report, result in enhanced initial wage rates under a successor agreement, eligible bargaining-unit members will be paid a lump sum representing the differential between the new initial wage rate and the wage rate provided by the current (November 15, 1999-November 15, 2002) contract, retroactive to the midpoint of the current contract. The committee should consider whether a similar provision for contracted custodial workers would be consistent with its general recommendations concerning policy toward outsourcing. To be eligible for an appropriate lump-sum payment following ratification of a successor agreement, an employee must have worked at Harvard as a member of the bargaining unit at some time between the midpoint of the current contract and the effective date of the successor agreement.

Implementation of Earlier Recommendations Harvard will take prompt action to examine its implementation of the recommendations of the May 2000 report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Employment Policies, specifically relating to access to English as a Second Language (ESL) training and affordable health insurance benefits. Harvard will accommodate access to ESL training for Local 254 members and appropriate others in need of such training. Harvard also will refer the question of health insurance co-payment levels for all lower-paid workers to the University Benefits Committee for consideration. (Harvard is open to continuing discussions with SEIU about specific proposals for some form of short-term assistance relating to health insurance access.)

New Outsourcing Proposals Until the recommendations of the committee with respect to outsourcing are formulated and acted upon, Harvard will hold in abeyance any proposal further to outsource work currently performed by Harvard-employed custodians, food-service personnel , museum guards, or parking attendants, provided, however, that Harvard Medical School may outsource custodial work during this period if the Medical School and SEIU so agree.