April 13, 2001

Mr. Aaron Bartley
Harvard Living Wage Campaign
23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Dear Mr. Bartley,

I write in response to your recent correspondence to me and to members of the University's governing boards calling for Harvard to adopt a specific minimum wage rate for all workers on the Harvard campus, whether employed by Harvard or by outside service providers.

As you know, I carefully considered the extensive report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Employment Policies last year. I found the analysis sound and approved the Committee's recommendations. The Corporation was fully informed of these matters, as was the appropriate committee on the Board of Overseers. I have recently provided the governing boards with an update of key information contained in the report and an account of how the Committee's recommendations are being implemented (copy attached). They have also received the materials you provided, and I now write on behalf of the University.

Having reviewed your materials, listened carefully during our many conversations to your point of view, and further considered the issues involved, I remain persuaded that the University's approach to issues of compensation and important related matters is sound and has been significantly enhanced by the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee. Those recommendations, all of which are being implemented, place Harvard well ahead of most employers, in the region and nationwide, with respect to education and training programs, health benefits, guidelines governing contracting, and perquisites offered to long-term casual employees as part of the larger University community. I also believe, as persuasively argued by the Ad Hoc Committee, that it would not be wise to interfere with the collective bargaining process, or supplant our comprehensive approach to the compensation and welfare of workers on campus, with a mechanism tied to a single dollar ammount.

Though our approaches may differ, I want to assure you that I share your concern for the welfare of workers on our campus, and respect your commitment to these important issues.


Neil L. Rudenstine