Socialist Alternative has initiated a campaign at Harvard University, bringing together workers, students, and community members to fight against an epidemic of layoffs. Since the Harvard Corporation again voted to freeze spending from the endowment, members of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) have been laid off in department after department.

It has to be some sort of sick joke when Harvard pleads poverty. Harvard is the richest university in the world with a whopping $17.5 billion endowment, gaining over $10 billion between 1995 and 2000. Should we really believe the same Harvard Corporation – who gives their investment managers as much as $17.5 million a year – when they tell us Harvard doesn’t have the money to pay for its workers?

Layoffs wreck lives, break up families, exacerbate homelessness, and ruin communities. Harvard is one of the largest employers in Greater Boston. Therefore, major layoffs at Harvard will have a devastating impact on the local economy. Layoffs will drag down wages for the entire region by increasing competition for the remaining jobs in the area.

Laid-off workers face the worst job market in 20 years. With so much money, Harvard should be creating jobs rather than destroying them.

In order to successfully force Harvard to stop the layoffs, workers and students should organize militant actions and demonstrations in the spirit of the living wage sit-in of 2001. Without the labor of Harvard workers, the university could not exist. HUCTW must use this power to put its full resources behind a campaign to fight layoffs.

Call the Harvard Corporation today at 617-495-1534, and e-mail President Lawrence Summers at lawrence_summers@harvard.edu to say that layoffs at the richest university in the world are NOT acceptable.

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