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Stanford to form presidential committee on workplace policies

President John Hennessy will appoint an advisory committee to make recommendations on a wide range of issues affecting employees and others who work at Stanford, university officials announced Tuesday.

The presidential committee, which will be co-chaired by a faculty member and Diane Peck, executive director of human resources, will address concerns recently raised by students about temporary employees as well as other employment issues. The committee, which will include faculty, students, staff and administrators, will be organized and begin work in the fall with the goal of submitting a report to Hennessy by spring 2004.

"The formation of this committee represents a continued commitment on the part of Stanford to provide leadership on workplace issues," Hennessy said. "The university already has established a living wage policy for subcontracted workers and has made commitments in other areas important to employees, including a childcare subsidy program, tuition assistance and additional financial support for the health care of its lowest-paid workers. Nonetheless, we know there is always room for further improvement, and this committee will review concerns expressed by students, faculty and employees and make recommendations with the goal of making Stanford an even better workplace."

In addition to Peck and a faculty co-chair to be appointed by Hennessy, the committee will include three student members and two faculty members. Nominations will be sought from the ASSU Nominations Commission and the Faculty Senate for candidates for the student and faculty positions. Three employees also will be appointed to the committee, including an employee represented by the bargaining unit. Two administrators, with expertise in relevant areas, also will sit on the committee.

Among the issues Hennessy will ask the committee to examine are policies regarding temporary employees; the existing living wage policy; policies guiding the use of subcontracting; educational opportunities for employees; the adequacy of mechanisms to review and ensure compliance with the university's employment policies; and the adequacy of mechanisms designed to ensure compliance with legal rights of employees and the university in connection with union organization.

Hennessy announced the formation of the committee following several days of meetings with students who are protesting the university's use of temporary workers and its decision not to implement a university "code of conduct" guiding labor practices on campus. Six students who were fasting as part of the protest decided to end their fast Tuesday night after reaching agreement on the proposed committee.

“I think this is good result,” Hennessy said. “The students and university officials involved have acted in good faith, and I now look forward to the beginning of a positive process to address these issues. I am particularly pleased with the outcome because one of our primary concerns during the last week has been the health and safety of our students. The university will continue to work with the students to see that appropriate medical care is available before they return to their studies and exams.”

In announcing the committee, Hennessy reiterated the university's request that anyone who believes that the university is not complying with its existing policies on the use of temporary employees or any other employment policy report the situation to the executive director of human resources.

Earlier this year, Stanford implemented a living wage policy for subcontracted workers, making it the only private employer in the Bay Area to adopt such a policy for subcontractors' employees. In May, Hennessy encouraged companies that have contracts with Stanford to provide health care benefits for their employees. In addition, Stanford provides on-site childcare and childcare assistance for its employees, as well as benefits for employees' domestic partners.


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