Class of 2001 Living Wage Statement

We, the undersigned members of the Class of 2001, believe that as a socially responsible institution, Harvard University should treat all of its workers with dignity and respect. We believe that no worker at this, the world's richest university, should have to work eighty hours per week to make ends meet; that no worker should have to commute for two hours because he or she can not afford to live anywhere near Boston; that no worker should have to forego medical treatment because Harvard does not provide health insurance. We believe that the people who clean our buildings, who cook our meals, who guard our dorms, and whose work allows this university to run should not live in poverty. As students, soon to be alumni of this institution, we are ashamed that many workers face just these circumstances. We are also ashamed that the struggle for a living wage on our campus has had to persist for the majority of our time here; it should have been resolved long ago. We therefore urge Harvard University to live up to its duty as a moral and social leader by immediately implementing a living wage of at least $10.25 per hour plus health benefits for all workers, whether directly employed or hired through outside firms.

As we graduate, we also want to express our concern about the problem of administrative intimidation of workers, which has grown in response to worker activism for a living wage. Since the sit-in, a number of workers who have been outspoken in support of a living wage have been subjected to varied forms of intimidation -- from one worker with no workplace infractions being put on probation, to another having a paycheck "accidentally" shredded and therefore delivered late. Three different janitorial supervisors have illegally demanded that the workers they oversee sign forms saying that they attended union meetings. These acts of intimidation represent restrictions on speech and peaceful gathering which are unacceptable in a university community. We call on Harvard administrators to publicly state their commitment to ending workplace intimidation, and to act to ensure that these practices do not continue.