Keeping Strine’s Promises: Audit Contract Labor
In an e-mail to the UVa community following the Living Wage hunger strike in February of this year, University Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Strine committed to “begin to gather information on key contracting and trends, which will help us better manage and communicate to the Board of Visitors regarding our reliance on contracted partners that support and advance our mission.”
This is a step that the Living Wage Campaign heartily commends. However, the manner in which Mr. Strine states this commitment is vague. To help Mr. Strine keep his promise, we of the Living Wage campaign have drafted the following two measures for implementing this commitment. In truth, auditing contractors is an incredibly basic step in ensuring good labor practices at UVA, and one that is only meaningful in the context of broader action. We demand that the University confront its long and shameful history of slave labor, underpaid labor, and poor community relations with the simple step of ensuring what we call ‘a living wage’ for all employees, both those directly employed by UVA, and those employed through contractors like Aramark. We demand that by March 1, 2013, Mr. Strine and the UVa administration do the following:
1) The University must exercise its existing right to audit contractors in a meaningful way. The University must obtain information on employee compensation, including wages and benefit information, for all contracted workers on grounds. This must be cross-referenced with information on the race and gender of contract employees in order to verify compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws meant to protect against ‘separate and unequal’ employment. All contracts should include a clause requiring contractors to provide this information on an annual basis.
2) The University must make all of this information freely available to the public by publishing it online.