Statement of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, Hotel and Restaurant Workers Local 26, the Service Employees International Union Local 254, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and the AFL-CIO

May 8, 2001

Today's announcement by Harvard University regarding the living wage issue is a major achievement of which all the members of the University community can be proud. The Living Wage Campaign at Harvard has won an unprecedented commitment by Harvard University to address the fundamental moral issue of Harvard's adopting an internal uniform wage floor for all the people who work at Harvard – direct and contract, casual and permanent employees, those who have a union and those who do not. The Committee formed today is an equally unprecedented body that will bring together Harvard workers, students, senior faculty and administrators. Harvard's substantive commitments to make certain future pay increases retroactive, to place a moratorium for at least several months on outsourcing of custodial, food service, parking attendant, and museum guard work, and to immediately consider health care premiums for low wage workers are all major accomplishments by the Living Wage Campaign and the University administration. On behalf of the union movement as a whole, we wish to express our admiration and gratitude to the students of the Harvard Living Wage Campaign for their tremendous efforts, efforts that have made a dramatic contribution to the Harvard community.

Harvard workers and their unions will be fully engaged participants in the work of the Committee formed to address living wage issues. We have every expectation the Committee will accomplish its mission in a manner that will do honor to the Harvard community and that will contribute to the national dialogue on the rights of all working people.

The days to come should bring the Harvard community together. The union movement believes that the single most important immediate step Harvard University and its Faculties can take following today's announcements is to quickly welcome the student protestors back into the normal routines of the University. Specifically, we strongly urge the Harvard administration and the Faculties to refrain from disciplinary action that would certainly lead to continuing unnecessary divisions within the University community.

For our part, we pledge the union movement's continuing vigorous support to the student protaestors, and on behalf of the people who work every day at Harvard we congratulate all involved in today's announcement–the administration, Faculties, alumni, students, and Harvard's police officers – for a job well done.