The Future of the Just Employment Policy

The Future of the Just Employment Policy

Last November, the Georgetown University community celebrated ten years of just employment on its campus. Since 2005, Georgetown has guaranteed all of its employees and subcontracted workers a living wage, the right to freely associate and organize, freedom from harassment or retaliation, and access to community resources such as bus shuttles and ESL courses as part of the university’s own version of the Just Employment Policy. Time after time, Georgetown has proven that just employment policies can provide a valuable framework to address circumstances that threaten the basic rights and inherent dignity of workers. While the celebration allowed attendees to reflect on the creation of the policy and its impact on the Georgetown community, a third panel pondered the future of the Just Employment Policy model and its applicability to other colleges and universities, particularly those that uphold Jesuit and Catholic values in their mission. Dr. Robert Stumberg is the director of Harrison Institute for Public Law, which played a vital role in drafting the policy model and helped address the legal questions that arise from it. Chris Kerr is the executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, a national social justice education and advocacy network inspired by St. Ignatius of Loyola. He discussed how the principles of just employment are rooted in Catholic social teaching and the Ignatian tradition, emphasizing that the JEP is “grounded in the idea of relationship.” Hannah Cook is a first-year student at Loyola University of Chicago and a member of Students for Worker Justice, which seeks to build solidarity with campus workers and achieve just employment at Loyola. Recently, SWJ supported adjunct faculty in their successful bid to unionize and helped dining staff win a contract with fair wages and affordable health care....
Just Employment at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice

Just Employment at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice

This past weekend, a record crowd of over 1,700 attended the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice (IFTJ) in Washington, DC. The Teach-in is an annual gathering for the Ignatian family to come together in the context of social justice and solidarity. Although members from many Catholic institutions attend IFTJ, it is students from Jesuit high schools and universities who comprise the heart of the gathering. This year, the Just Employment team was proud to be part of the Teach-in and meet lots of the students whose commitment to justice breathes hope into the Church and our communities. As part of our contribution to the Teach-in, we made a short presentation on the Just Employment Policy that you can watch below. We also held a more in-depth breakout session where students from Jesuit colleges and universities learned more about the JJEP model, discussed labor practices on their own campuses, and strategized about how to best support the workers who keep our universities running smoothly. Thank you to all of the students, staff, and faculty who came out to the training. Stay in touch with us at justemploymentpolicy@gmail.com or by following us on Facebook and Twitter. “In the same way that our Jesuit high schools, colleges, and universities teach us to think critically about the world and dare us to be men and women for others, it is our duty to reflect on the structure of our own institutions and challenge them to fulfill their commitment to justice and the common good.   The Church has spoken with great clarity about the importance of a living wage, worker rights, and dignity in the workplace. Yet our Catholic universities...
Just Employment Policy Showcased at the White House

Just Employment Policy Showcased at the White House

The Just Employment Policy was highlighted in the East Wing of the White House during the Summit on Worker Voice. The Summit brought together workers, labor leaders, advocates, forward-leaning employers, and the President to address the most important issues facing working-class people. One of its panel discussions focused on the way worker voices are amplified when labor and community come together. US Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu moderated the panel, which featured the Director of Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, Joseph McCartin. Prof. McCartin was invited in part due to his work promoting Just Employment practices in higher education. Alongside passionate labor and community organizers, Prof. McCartin explained how Georgetown’s Just Employment Policy ensures that all campus workers receive a living wage and are treated with dignity in accordance with Catholic Social Teaching. The Policy empowered campus dining service workers and adjunct faculty to improve their working conditions by organizing in a manner that served the University’s overall mission. “Georgetown’s Just Employment Policy upholds values of solidarity, community, and worker voice.” The discussion also touched on efforts to export the Just Employment model, which was developed based on Georgetown’s policy, to other colleges and universities. Over the past two years, students at John Carroll, Brandeis, and Loyola Chicago have led inspiring efforts to bring Just Employment principles to their own campuses. The broader theme of ‘good employers’ with high labor standards came up several times throughout the Summit. President Obama specifically emphasized the need for consumers to pressure businesses to pay fair wages and respect the rights of their workers. “Part of our goal has...
Just Employment in Action: Adjunct Unionization and Contract Negotiation at Georgetown University

Just Employment in Action: Adjunct Unionization and Contract Negotiation at Georgetown University

One of the most remarkable trends in higher education has been the growing shift towards adjunct professors to teach courses previously assigned to full-time, tenured faculty. In addition to the lack of job security and benefits, adjuncts receive poverty wages and often have to turn to food stamps to get by. In response, many have turned to the labor movement to improve their working conditions and secure a living wage. Georgetown University is one of the many institutions where contingent faculty sought to unionize, and a new report authored by the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor details their organizing efforts and the process by which they certified their union and negotiated a new contract. The report describes how Georgetown’s own version of the Just Employment Policy, which guarantees the right to freely associate and organize “without intimidation, unjust pressure, undue delay or hindrance,” fostered a positive climate in which the university and adjuncts were able to reach a mutually beneficial contract agreement. Ultimately, adjunct faculty at Georgetown received a substantial pay raise, increased job security, and a pool of professional development funds to support their research. These changes will enable adjunct professors to further contribute to the university’s good reputation by publicizing their scholarship at conferences and staying put for a greater period of time. The open and cooperative process by which contingent faculty unionized at Georgetown honored the university’s Catholic and Jesuit identity and unified the campus community. What transpired at Georgetown is worth our attention because it diverges from the tension and conflict that has characterized efforts to unionize adjuncts at other colleges and universities....
Jesuit Just Employment Project at IgnatianQ

Jesuit Just Employment Project at IgnatianQ

Thank you to our friends at GU Pride and the Georgetown University LGBTQ Resource Center for inviting us to present at Ignatian Q: The Ignatian LGBTQ & Ally Conference on March 28! Students from Catholic and Jesuit institutions across the country including Boston College, Canisius, Georgetown, Fordham, Loyola Maryland, Loyola Marymount, Marquette, St. Louis, and Scranton joined us to discuss how to advance justice for all workers on our campuses with the Just Employment...