Statement of Harvard Living Wage Campaign

May 8, 2001

In the last 21 days, the Harvard Living Wage Campaign has won tremendous victories, building a community-wide affirmation of the living wage principle. The university-wide committee process with worker and student participation, the commitments about collective bargaining with SEIU Local 254 and HERE Local 26, the possibility of back-pay for Harvard's custodians, and the moratoriums on outsourcing promise substantive gains for workers at Harvard.

The students, faculty, alumni, clergy, area citizens, and workers of all backgrounds who make up our campaign are united in overwhelming support for a living wage for all workers at Harvard, and for each other as vital members of our community. Together, we are now changing not just the dialogue about but the reality of the conditions for workers at Harvard - and for workers at universities across the nation. And after 21 days, the Harvard community welcomes the administration's new commitment to understanding and addressing poverty in our University. We believe that any administrative process that reflects and represents the community will recognize today's historic affirmation of the principle of a living wage. We will remain vigilant, and work to ensure that happens.

Today we are taking important first steps towards a time when no worker at Harvard needs to work 80 hours a week, when no worker at Harvard cannot spend time with his or her kids, and when no worker at Harvard needs to worry about basic health care or paying the rent. Workers at Harvard and their families must earn decent wages that keep them from poverty and affirm their dignity. We as a campaign and community must continue to struggle towards that time. We want to thank the people from all parts of the globe who have offered help to Harvard workers in their struggle, and we pledge our support and solidarity to all those in similar struggles. All of us working together can broaden and deepen the movement for economic justice.