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John Harvard's Journal

Weighing In on Wages

September-October 2001

The committee appointed May 8 by then-president Neil L. Rudenstine to study wages and job opportunities for Harvard's lower-paid workers is soliciting comment throughout the University community. Formally known as the Harvard Committee on Employment and Contracting Policies (HCECP), the study group was established as one element in the agreements that brought to an end the 21-day "living wage" sit-in at Massachusetts Hall (see "Wage Wrangling," July-August, page 64). The committee was charged with considering and making recommendations on Harvard's principles and policies concerning the economic welfare of lower-paid workers, whether employed by the University or by companies that contract to provide services on campus. The committee will also address guidelines for "outsourcing" (contracting out) such services and is specifically charged with considering the desirability and feasibility of a uniform minimum-wage floor for workers at Harvard. The full scope of its work is described at

The committee, chaired by professor of economics Lawrence F. Katz (former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor and author of Differences and Changes in Wage Structures), has a broad membership, including 10 other faculty members from Arts and Sciences and the education, government, law, and public-health schools; three members of Harvard employee unions; four students; and two administrators. As part of its information-gathering, the committee is soliciting views from all interested faculty and staff members, students, and alumni. (Send comments to [email protected] or to HCECP, c/o 25 Shattuck Street, Gordon Hall 206, Boston 02115.) At least one public forum will be held during the fall semester for the same purpose.

Deliberations will begin at the start of the academic year and the committee hopes to have all community comments in hand by October 31. Its report, due to President Lawrence H. Summers by December 19, will be posted, once available, on the HCECP website.