May 7, 2001
USAS Statement in Support of Living Wage at Harvard

For the past three years, United Students Against Sweatshops has been organizing on campuses from coast to coast to ensure that the workers making our collegiate apparel are treated with dignity. We define dignity as the ability to for freedom of association, proper health and safety standards, no forced labor, freedom from abuse, harassment and underage employment. Further, we advocate that a living wage is the only kind of wage that any worker should ever be paid.

It is in solidarity and with full support, that we, the members of United Students Against Sweatshops proudly and strongly offer our solidarity and support to Progressive Student Labor Movement as they enter their fourth week of a sit-in demanding a LIVING WAGE for all employees at Harvard University. As students, we more than understand the pressures of deadline for papers, theses, and final exams. We respect the utmost dedication it takes for students to transcend their own needs in order to stand with the workers who make their school run.

In our support for students sitting-in at Harvard, we call on President Rudenstine to immediately grant the student's request to pay all Harvard Workers- in-sourced or out-sourced- $10.25/hour plus medical and educational benefits. As an educational intuition, Harvard would show the future leaders that the respect of human rights is the bottom line. As a research institution, Harvard will show that as a beneficiary of federal grants, that it respects all the tax paying citizens who work at Harvard.

The right to protest is one of the tenets of the liberal tradition, taught in the very lecture halls at Harvard. We must remember that Boston is the very city where protests that began the revolution that formed this country commenced. We request that Harvard University respects the integrity of the protestors by notsanctioning them for their peaceful and thoughtful actions. If Harvard acted justly, the workers would be able to thrive, and the students would be studying for finals.

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