After nearly three weeks of protesting, approximately 14 members of the Student Worker Alliance (SWA) agreed to call off their sit-in in South Brookings Hall and Brookings Quadrangle when presented with a letter from Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton April 22.
In the letter, Wrighton again outlined what the University has committed to do and set forth some additional steps to be addressed at the end of the sit-in.
The University agreed to do the following:
- Beginning in the 2005-06 fiscal year, the University will commit $500,000 toward improving the wages and benefits of lower-paid service workers. Also, beginning in the 2006-07 fiscal year, the University will commit an additional $500,000 annually toward the same purpose, bringing the annual total to $1 million.
- The University will appoint a team to review University priorities with the intent of identifying what additional resources might be available to address the ongoing needs of lower-paid service workers.
- The University will soon meet with the companies that provide basic services to the University on a contractual basis to assure conformity with the commitments made in the “Principles and Guidelines for Basic Service Contracts,” which became University policy last fall. In addition, the University is opening expanded discussions to determine if improvements can be made, especially on worker health-care issues.
- The University will join the Workers Rights Consortium, in addition to its present membership in the Fair Labor Association, to maintain its policy of supporting international and national efforts promoting respect for labor rights around the world.
- The University respects the rights and decisions of employees to choose to be represented by a union and to collectively bargain with their employer. The University is committed to remaining neutral in the labor-relations decisions of its independent service contractors and their employees.
- The University will strive to do business with service contractors who recognize, support and respect fair labor practices. In selecting service contractors, adherence to fair labor practices will be a criterion for selection, in addition to those criteria already included in the “Principles and Guidelines for Basic Services Contracts.”
- In addition to the existing University requirement that service contractors have fair and consistent internal grievance procedures, the University will ensure that service contractors provide their employees with the opportunity to present grievances to a neutral and independent person, such as an ombudsperson.
- The University will establish an advisory committee composed of students, faculty and administrators that will meet periodically to review how service contractor selections and renewals are made.
In addition, once the sit-in ended, the University planned to address these issues:
- The participation SWA may have in the above-mentioned efforts to identify what additional resources might be available to address the ongoing needs of lower-paid service workers, and on the advisory committee that will meet periodically to review how service contractor selections and renewals were made.
- James E. McLeod, vice chancellor for students and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, will work with individual students and administrators to resolve issues related to violations of the University’s Judicial Code in connection with the sit-in and hunger strike.
- McLeod will also work with individual students and faculty members to address issues related to missed classes and exams and make-up work. Final decisions will remain with the faculty.