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With his decision on the recommendations of the Harvard Committee on Employment and Contracting Policies (HCECP) only three days away, University President Lawrence H. Summers will be meeting with Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM) tomorrow.
In an e-mail to Beverly B. Sullivan, Summers’ executive assistant, PSLM member Jessica A. Fragola ’04 also requested that Summers sponsor an “open forum and question-and-answer session” with the president on the HCECP report. Sullivan replied that Summers responded “positively” to the idea.
PSLM members led the Mass. Hall occupation last spring that compelled former University President Neil L. Rudenstine to convene the HCECP.
Charged with studying and evaluating the status of Harvard’s workers, the HCECP released its final report on Dec. 19, recommending that Harvard raise wages to at least $10.83 per hour and equalize wages and benefits between workers directly employed by the University and those employed through subcontractors.
Although PSLM has expressed support for implementing the committee’s recommendations, the organization has termed them inadequate, calling for a wage annually adjusted to the cost of living in the greater Boston area and an end to the practice of outsourcing. But since the report is non-binding, Harvard’s eventual policy will be determined solely by Summers.
PSLM members said their meeting with Summers is necessary for a “transparent” decision-making process.
“Right now, we are virtually in the dark as to where the president stands,” Fragola wrote in her e-mail to Sullivan. “In order that we can effectively work together to ensure that these recommendations are fairly implemented, there needs to be more transparency between the University and the student body.”
Emma S. Mackinnon ’05, a member of PSLM, said the group was surprised by Summers’ “encouraging” decision to schedule a meeting. She said the group was surprised by Summers’ “encouraging” decision to schedule a meeting. She said the group hopes to confirm plans for a public event and discuss the overlaps and differences between PSLM’s positions and the HCECP report.
Summers is currently leading a period of public feedback and comment on the report, which will last through Jan. 18. Summers is then expected to announce his plans on labor policy.
University spokesperson Joe Wrinn said Summers has been meeting with a “wide range of people and groups on campus” since the beginning of his tenure, and that his acceptance of PSLM’s request for a meeting was “part of the process” of gathering different opinions.
—Staff writer Ross A. Macdonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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