Harvard, Pay All Your Workers

Harvard University

Harvard__pay_all_your_workers_(1)

Update: On March 27, thanks to our community's activism—and just hours after we launched a call-in to administrators—Harvard reversed course and committed to paying the University’s workers, including contract dining and custodial employees, through the end of the semester!

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As Harvard shuts down operations to protect the public’s health, it must take steps to ensure that all university employees — including subcontracted and temporary employees — can support and care for themselves and their families during this global pandemic. Currently, many workers at Harvard face an immediate loss of pay and will be unable to make ends meet in the midst of this crisis.

In this time of crisis, Harvard should put the good of its employees ahead of the university’s narrow budgetary interests. Harvard should lead in demonstrating a spirit of care by ensuring that all workers at this university, whether directly hired or subcontracted, will be paid at full pay for the rest of the semester so that they can weather this pandemic.

If you're an organization that would like to add your name to our petition, please email us at labor@mail.law.harvard.edu.

To: Harvard University
From: [Your Name]

Dear President Bacow,

We, the undersigned Harvard students, faculty, staff, and community members, are writing to urge you to guarantee full pay for all employees, including subcontracted and temporary employees, who will be laid off or face hours cuts due to COVID-19. Currently, many workers at Harvard face an immediate loss of pay and will be unable to make ends meet in the midst of this crisis.

As Harvard shuts down operations to protect the public’s health, it must take steps to ensure that all university employees — including subcontracted and temporary employees — can support and care for themselves and their families during this global pandemic. To that end, we were glad to see that the university will pay most directly-hired hourly employees who can no longer work on campus or remotely for at least 30 days, and we hope that the university will continue to pay all employees at full pay at least for the remainder of the Spring semester.

However, many workers are currently excluded from this policy. For instance, the university administration has refused to guarantee these 30 days of pay to subcontracted dining and catering workers at Harvard Medical School, Harvard Law School, and the Graduate School of Design, as well as at the Science Center’s Clover Cafe and the School of Education's Rebecca's Cafe. Likewise, Harvard has so far refused to guarantee these 30 days of pay to subcontracted security guards and custodians. (Fortunately, security guards and custodians have clauses in their contracts requiring that pay be maintained during an emergency; Harvard must uphold these provisions during this pandemic.) In withholding COVID-19 pay from these workers, the university is violating its own Wage and Benefits Parity Policy, under which subcontracted dining, custodial, and security employees are entitled to the same compensation and benefits as their directly-hired coworkers. The university has similarly failed to extend these 30 days of pay to certain AV/tech employees and subcontracted recreation employees. Moreover, while Harvard has committed to paying graduate student workers for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, it has not made the same commitment for undergraduate student workers. These are just a few examples of workers across Harvard who are facing an immediate loss of income in addition to the strain of COVID-19. These income shocks make it more difficult for workers and their families to stay healthy, remain at home to avoid spreading the virus, and follow related guidance from public health authorities and from the university itself.

In a letter to the Harvard community, President Bacow wrote, “I am proud to be a member of a community where people put the greater good above their own self-interest;” and he urged students, faculty, and staff to “temper increased distance with deeper care for one another.”

In this time of crisis, Harvard should put the good of its employees ahead of the university’s narrow budgetary interests. Harvard should lead in demonstrating a spirit of care by ensuring that all workers at this university, whether directly hired or subcontracted, will be paid at full pay for the rest of the semester so that they can weather this pandemic.

Sincerely,

Labor & Employment Action Project, Harvard Law School
Harvard Graduate Students Union - UAW
People's Parity Project, Harvard Law School
Human Rights & Business (HuB) Students Association, Harvard Law School
First Class Law Students Association, Harvard Law School
Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, Harvard Law School
Project No One Leaves, Harvard Law School
American Constitution Society, Harvard Law School
Harvard International Arbitration Law Students Association, Harvard Law School
Progressive Jewish Alliance, Harvard Law School
Global South Dialogue, Harvard Law School
Alliance for Reproductive Justice, Harvard Law School
Tenant Advocacy Project, Harvard Law School
La Alianza, Harvard Law School
FiLM Society, Harvard Law School
Middle Eastern Law Students Association, Harvard Law School
Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left, Harvard Law School
Lambda, Harvard Law School
Black Law Students Association, Harvard Law School
Advocates for Human Rights, Harvard Law School
Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Harvard Law School
Systemic Justice Project, Harvard Law School
Harvard Law Review, Harvard Law School
Harvard Student Labor Action Movement, Harvard College
Harvard Ethnic Studies Coalition, Harvard College
Harvard Organization for Prison Education and Advocacy, Harvard College
Act On A Dream, Harvard College
Harvard Can Do Better, Harvard College
Harvard College Democrats, Harvard College
Latin American Student Group, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Taiwan GSD, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Mountain Club, Harvard Graduate School of Design
JapanGSD, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Spain GSD, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Organizers for Radical Climate Action, Harvard Graduate School of Design
GSseeds, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Harvard Urban Planning Organization, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Healthy Places Student Group, Harvard Graduate School of Design
UD:ID, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Queers in Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Participatory Budgeting GSD, Harvard Graduate School of Design
LaborGSD, Harvard Graduate School of Design
The Urban Review, Harvard Graduate School of Design
East Asia Urban Forum, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Real Estate Development Club, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, Harvard University
No Layoffs Campaign, Harvard University
Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign
Princeton Graduate Students United
Jewish Voice for Peace Boston
Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine