February 24, 1999

Mr. Aaron Bartley
60 Banks Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Dear Mr. Bartley:

I have been asked to respond to your letter of February 17th to President Rudenstine and Provost Fineberg regarding the Harvard Living Wage Campaign. Thank you for the letter and for outlining the concerns of the Harvard Living Wage Campaign in such a thoughtful manner. We concur with you that adequate wages, benefits and employment opportunities for workers are important issues. Harvard's record demonstrates the University's continuing interests in responsible employment, including fair wages, adequate benefits and equal employment opportunities for all.

Why didn't the President and Provost respond? The problem of poverty wages on campus is not worth their time?
Your letter refers to workers employed by Harvard who "cook, clean, build, maintain, drive and repair on this campus". Harvard employs approximately 900 workers in the various trades and service categories mentioned in your letter, all of whom are represented by local AFL-CIO labor organizations. Thus, the wages and working conditions for these employees are established under collective bargaining agreements negotiated between the labor organizations and the University which provide wages that match or are comparable to market area standards established by these unions with other employers. The 900 workers mentioned does not include "casual" or subcontracted workers. Harvard employs 14,000 people.
In addition, the University provides the full-time trade and service workers it employs with the same package of benefits, including medical insurance, dental insurance, disability income, and retirement benefits, that are made available to other non-teaching full time staff of the University.

What about workers who are not full-time?
The University works closely with the trade and service unions and their business agents on issues of mutual concern. We continue to keep our lines of communication with these local unions open for the mutual benefit of the workers the unions represent and the University. We will continue in our efforts to balance our fiduciary responsibilities to our students and their families with our interest in promoting standards for good wages, benefits and employment opportunities for trades and service employees and to be fair to all concerns.

Students will not be set against workers. The university's fiduciary duty to students and their families does not require using the working poor to subsidize our tuition
If you have further questions, I can be reached at 495-2784. Again, thank you for sharing your concerns.

Sincerely,

Kim A. Roberts,
Director, Labor and Employee Relations

This reponse contains:

1) No reference to our single demand of a minimum $10/hour living wage for every service worker at Harvard

2)No response to our request for a meeting on or before March 10, 1999