Provost's Statement

On Wednesday, Provost Harvey Fineberg released the following statement. It contains a number of misrepresentations, and outright lies. Please see the response, or follow the links though the highlighted asterisks.

Approximately fifty students entered Massachusetts Hall on the Harvard
University campus today demanding a mandatory wage floor for all persons
who work on the Harvard campus -- whether employed by Harvard or by outside
service providers, and whether represented by unions through the collective
bargaining process or not.

The students have pledged that there will be no obstruction of access to
the building, that they will not harm property, and that they will treat
staff and others with respect during their stay.

Motivated in part by concerns raised by students, the University in
1999-2000 undertook a comprehensive review of the opportunities and
compensation available to service employees on the Harvard campus.  During
the process and afterwards, there have been a number of occasions for the
students to present their views directly to the committee*  and to members of
the University administration.*

We share the students' concern for the well-being of employees on the
Harvard campus.  Indeed, the 1999-2000 review, conducted by a faculty
committee*, recommended innovative programs to enhance the status and
opportunities of service employees.  These recommendations, which have been
adopted by the University* and praised by national employment and training
experts, include programs to improve job skills and literacy training for
employees, expanded availability of health benefits for part-time workers,*
and other measures.

The University believes these programs promise to have a substantial
positive impact on the economic mobility of service employees who work at
Harvard.  It also believes, as the faculty committee found, that the
University meets and exceeds its stated goal of providing fair and
competitive compensation and benefits packages for its employees.*

The University-wide faculty committee also expressly declined to endorse
the students' proposal for a precise mandatory wage floor (originally $10
an hour) to be set outside the collective bargaining process.  It also
noted that a very small fraction of Harvard employees (about 400 out of
more than 13,000) were paid less than $10 an hour.*  (All of these were
either part-time or temporary employees, employees represented by unions
through collective bargaining, or both.)  In light of the recent
comprehensive review, the University does not intend to reopen the question
of a mandatory wage floor, but is actively implementing the affirmative
recommendations of the committee.