PSLM's Public Rallies Force University to Take Notice

Few groups on campus are as visible as the Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM).

Over the past year, PSLM has organized large rallies, staged a walkout during Commencement, hoisted a flag emblazoned with "$10"--the demanded hourly "living wage"--over University Hall and led an "anti-sweatshop tour" of the Square.

Responsible for the living wage and anti-sweatshop campaigns, PSLM has transformed a campus once known for its apathy into one written up in Time magazine for its activism, where rallies and marches have become a standard sight in the Yard and at Holyoke Center.


"A year ago, 'living wage' was not a term that many people knew," PSLM member Amy C. Offner '01 says. "Many people didn't think about the University as an employer or a corporation, and now it's common."

Even Harvard's administration, notorious for glacially slow decision-making, has taken notice, most notably giving ground to the group's demands on sweatshops.

"I think students have been unusually effective in making clear what the issues are," says Harvard President Neil L. Rudenstine.

But the reasons behind the lobbying successes of this loosely organized group of pro-labor activists may not be immediately apparent.

PSLM attributes its successes to a program of humiliating Harvard through public demonstrations that draw campus audiences and national media attention.

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