BOSTON - Harvard University, one of the world's
richest universities, is stingy when it comes to paying hourly
workers, according to a report released on Monday by an alumni
group that has campaigned for increased wages.
``Some of the members of the nonprofessional staff are paid
so little they're eligible for food stamps,'' said Ira Arlook, a
spokesman for Harvard Alumni for a Living Wage.
His group supported students who last May staged a 21-day
sit-in at the Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus that sought a
minimum wage of $10.25 an hour for janitors and other workers,
some of whom earned less than $7 an hour.
The report shows Harvard, with an $18 billion endowment,
paid some workers a starting hourly wage of $9.65. About 1,000
workers, including contract workers and those directly employed
by Harvard, earned less than $10.68 an hour, qualifying most
for the federal food stamp program.
That is far less than the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, a cross-town rival which pays its workers $14.39 an
hour; or Boston University which pays $14.97 an hour; or
Wellesley College which pays $15.26 an hour. MIT's endowment
stands at $6.5 billion, while Boston University has $662
million and Wellesley College has about $780 million.
Harvard administrators have remained mum about the issue
pending recommendations due later this week from a commission
appointed after the May protests. A preliminary report released
in October showed the number of Harvard direct employees paid
below the so-called ``living wage'' increased from 170 in
September 1994 to 424 in March 2001.
The ``Harvard Living Wage Campaign,'' supported by the alumni
group, has urged school officials to pay employees at least $12
an hour and subsidize health insurance and child care.
The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group, Wider
Opportunities for Women, estimates that parents must each earn
at least $11.97 an hour at full-time jobs, generating an annual
income of about $43,000, to support a family of four in the
The U.S. minimum wage is $5.15 an hour, compared with $6.75
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