Just Employment at Loyola Marymount and Beyond

Just Employment at Loyola Marymount and Beyond

This past October at Loyola Marymount, the largest Jesuit and Catholic university on the West Coast, the Loyola community gathered for a profound dialogue on just employment practices in higher education. The event took place as part of the CSJ Center for Reconciliation and Justice and the Bellarmine Forum‘s “People, Planet, Profit – Business Today, Tomorrow – What Next?” conference and featured a panel of esteemed LMU faculty members and students, a Just Employment Project representative, and the anonymous testimony of two Loyola Marymount employees. You can view the event in its entirety here: Just Employment at LMU and Beyond from LMU CSJ Center on Vimeo. Dr. Matthew Petrusek, a professor in the LMU Department of Theological Studies, outlined the principles of Catholic social teaching that provide the universal ground for just compensation and the right to organize: association, participation, solidarity, subsidiarity, and the common good. He also spoke about the difficulty of applying these principles to concrete settings and encouraged everyone working to address the question of just employment to act in a “disposition of mutual charity, not mutual suspicion.” Dr. Cathleen McGrath, an associate professor of Management and chair of LMU’s faculty committee on mission and identity, challenged the misnomer that business orthodoxy prescribes the lowest wages possible. She highlighted companies that have succeeded by treating their employees justly, including a great example within Loyola Marymount: the Loyola Marymount University Children’s Center. Over the past decade, the Center has increased the lowest hourly wages paid to teachers from $12.95 to $17.50, well above a living wage in Los Angeles and the state average for child care teachers of $11.93 an hour. LMU’s children center has also invested in teacher training and development...
Beyond a Living Wage: The University of California Embraces Just Employment Policy Principles

Beyond a Living Wage: The University of California Embraces Just Employment Policy Principles

When University of California President Janet Napolitano announced a “Fair Wage/Fair Work” plan for campus workers, the increased minimum wage of $15 an hour understandably received nearly all of the press coverage. Yet upon closer inspection, the new policy includes several other protections for direct and indirect university employees. These protections happen to be important components of the Just Employment Policy, and their adoption brings the University of California in alignment with the JEP model. A key aspect of the new policy is that it extends to both university staff and subcontracted employees. It may seem intuitive to establish the same standards for all workers, yet most institutions that voluntarily raise their minimum wage only do so for direct university employees. The exclusion of contract workers is highly problematic. Not only does it incentivize outsourcing services to firms with low-pay and anti-union business models, but it also leaves out many workers that comprise an integral part of the university community. Food service, security, and janitorial staff are typically subcontracted employees that spend all of their work hours on campus; they deserve the living wage and benefits that their colleagues receive. That equality now exists at the UC system. The University of California also adopted several JEP-endorsed protections for workers to ensure that the policy is being enforced throughout its campuses. These measures include both annual and periodic audits of contractors to ensure that they are complying with UC’s minimum wage of $15 an hour, as well as all federal and state laws regarding overtime and compensation. In addition, the new policy establishes a dedicated, toll-free number (855-WAGES-UC) and an...
University of California Commits to A Living Wage

University of California Commits to A Living Wage

On July 22, University of California President Janet Napolitano announced that the minimum wage for University employees would go up to $15 an hour over the next two years. Given that a living wage for single adults in California is estimated to be $12.34 for single adults, the policy guarantees that all workers in the UC system will soon earn enough to support themselves by working full-time hours. Even in pricier metropolitan areas such as San Francisco and San Jose, $15 hour constitutes a living wage. While other colleges and universities have also voluntarily adopted a living wage, the University of California is the first public school to do so. In the past, some public universities have claimed exemptions from local minimum wage ordinances. To freely commit to compensation that exceeds what state and federal law requires is a laudable change of direction. The UC’s new wage rules will apply to both direct and subcontracted employees. The latter group, which includes custodians, landscapers, and other campus workers, is often left out of pay increases at academic institutions. By extending the right to a living wage to contract workers, the UC ensures that every member of the campus community is treated fairly, in accordance with the university’s values. The University of California’s decision to implement a $15 an hour minimum wage is expected to have positive ramifications for many of the state’s residents. As the California’s third largest employer, the UC single-handedly provided a raise to over three thousand low-income workers. UC President Janet Napolitano also recognizes that the “[UC] community does not exist in a vacuum. How we support...