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 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...