Glossary of Terms
The process of handing over services like maintenance, dining and security to private companies, who take care of the bureaucratic and administrative details involved in hiring decisions, wage and benefits scales and allocation of labor. The companies decide who goes where and what they need to function, in other words, while the University can focus on other things.
Living Wage Campaign
A three-year movement begun in 1998 which culminated with 50 members of the Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM) occupying Mass. Hall for 21 days. PSLM demanded a wage floor for all Harvard workers, and a stop to the trend of outsourcing. The activists drew national media attention and an army of supporters who camped out in tents in Harvard Yard until the University promised to reexamine its labor policy.
A group of faculty, students and union leaders officially known as the Harvard Committee on Employment and Contracting Policy that was organized in response to the sit-in. Harvard labor economist Lawrence F. Katz chaired the committee, which blamed the use of outside contractors for driving down campus wages in its influential report to the University President.
Wage and Benefit Parity Policy
The official University policy put in place in response to the Katz recommendations. The WBPP says that the University must “strive to ensure” that contracted custodial, dining and security workers “receive total compensation comparable to that offered to corresponding University employees.”