Labor Task Force To Release Wage Report on Thurs.
Thirteen month effort will guide University policy
The Ad-Hoc Faculty Committee on Employment Policies plans to release their final report on Thursday, ending a 13-month wait by students and administrators eager for an official response to the living wage campaign.
The committee's formation last April marks the University's only response to the campaign, which is run by the Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM) and demands a $10.25 minimum hourly wage for all Harvard employees.
Thursday's report, running over 100 pages, will include specific recommendations to President Neil L. Rudenstine regarding worker wages and benefits, general facts, raw quantitative data and a five to six page executive summary, said committee chair Weatherhead Professor of Business Administration D. Quinn Mills.
The report will also include a two to three page letter of dissent by members who disagree with some of the committee's recommendations.
"The basic purpose [of the report] was to say this is what the community thinks and what we would be comfortable with and how we should proceed," Mills said.
"We came up with a fairly clear idea of the issues surrounding a living wage in particular and the issues surrounding the contingent workforce at Harvard," said Larsen Professor of Political Economy James H. Stock, a member of the committee. "It is my hope that this will address the concerns of the administration and the University more generally."
The report--eagerly anticipated by both administrators and students--promises to be the most comprehensive study of Harvard's employment practices in recent memory.
PSLM members have held rallies, protests and teach-ins for about 15 months--last Friday they occupied Byerly Hall for six hours--to pressure the University, but the administration has not changed its labor policy.
In refusing to act, officials cited the ongoing work of the committee in gathering information, a process that will come to a close with Thursday's report.
The report will address both casual and sub-contracted employees, members of the contingent workforce that PSLM members feared would not be included in the report.
"The scope of the committee was to consider contingent workers at Harvard and from the outset we considered that [we needed] to include the employees of contractors and the casual workforce," Stock said.
The report will also include a letter of dissent, signed by at least two of the committee's eight members.
"It's a significant dissent they're raising and they make a good case for their point of view," Mills said.
He said the dissent reflected an ideological split within the committee.
"There are some ideological differences and differences of principle, and some issues about practicality," he said.
But Mills said all members were satisfied with the committee's structure and process, despite differences of opinion regarding specific conclusions.
"All the committee members thought the process was fair and complete," he said.
Since its inception, the full committee--composed of three administrators and five professors from Harvard's different faculties--has convened 17 times, but various subcommittees met more often.
"Different members of the committee had different responsibilities for talking to different people," Stock said.
The committee conducted surveys, discussed benefit packages, debated the wording of the report and spoke to members of each of Harvard's faculties in an attempt to create a complete picture of the University's decentralized labor force.
Mills said last night he had not yet seen a completed draft of the report, but he expected it to be publicly available by Thursday.
"We have pieces of it, not the full thing," he said.
The committee's original timetable called for the report to be released last fall, but the desire for more complete information prompted the committee to continue gathering data and sending out surveys.
To prevent further delay, Mills said he pushed the committee to complete its work before the end of the academic year, so that the University community would have a chance to study the report and respond.
"We were desperately trying to finish before the end of the school year and before people were gone," he said.
Associate Vice President for Human Resources Polly Price, an official who has worked closely with the committee since its inception, said the release date had no special significance.
"It's finished, there's no reason to wait," she said. "The committee worked at a pretty intense pace for the entire year."
After the committee presents the president with the report on Thursday, Rudenstine will consider its recommendations and make copies available to all University officials who request them.
"What we have from him is an understanding that he will give the report clear and careful consideration," Mills said.
Mills said he has not met directly with Rudenstine in the past, but one of the president's staff members, Associate Vice President for Higher Education Policy A. Clayton Spencer, attended all committee meetings.
"I presume [Rudenstine has] been kept up-to-date with what we've been doing," he said.
Mills said he expects the committee to disband after delivering its report on Thursday.
"I don't anticipate any continued involvement--I think the report speaks for itself," he said.