Wringing concessions from a school with a $20 billion endowment....
21-day Harvard living wage occupation ends
May/June 2001

What follows is a report from the Harvard Living Wage Campaign :

What We've Won
The Living Wage Campaign ended our sit-in May 15 with a remarkable victory. After 21 days of action by students, workers, unions, faculty, alumni/ae, parents, community groups, and political figures, the Harvard administration was forced to make several immediate concessions, and to institute a process that, properly carried out, should bring a living wage policy to our entire university within a year. This outcome is nothing short of amazing when one considers that a month ago, Harvard administrators promised us that a living wage would never even be considered again at Harvard. The concessions they made on Tuesday are testaments to the extraordinary power of our community's collective action.

The specific victories that we won on Tuesday are as follows:

These victories were supplemented by several others along the way:

The victories brought by the sit-in promise to improve the lives of hundreds of Harvard workers, and to permanently shift the administration's assumptions about university decision-making. These gains--especially when extracted from a $19 billion corporation--are truly cause for celebration. Throughout the sit-in, we were overwhelmed by the support and commitment of our entire community, and today, we could not be more proud of what we have won together.

Where Do We Go From Here?
Our task today, and for the next year, is to see that the initial victory we won this spring becomes the full victory we have sought for nearly three years: a living wage with benefits for all Harvard workers. We need to ensure that our student representatives on the committee have strong relationships with workers and will firmly advocate a living wage. And once the committee is formed, we must continue to work as a coalition--students, workers, unions, faculty, and community--to see that its research is comprehensive, and that its recommendations reflect the consensus of our community that every worker at Harvard needs and deserves a living wage with benefits.


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