Reaction has been spirited to a proposal Moshe Marvit and I outlined in theNew York Times last week to protect under the Civil Rights Act individuals who are discriminated against for trying to form a union. As the article, and our new book, Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right, suggest, labor laws technically protect individuals who are fired for supporting a union, but the sanctions are so weak that individuals deserve the full protection of the Civil Rights Act, which includes compensatory and punitive damages.
On Thursday, I published an op-ed in The New York Times with Moshe Marvit, a labor and job discrimination attorney, arguing that we should amend the Civil Rights Act to outlaw discrimination against workers trying to organize a union. Under current labor laws, dismissing an employee for union activities is technically illegal, but the law is routinely broken because the penalties are so weak. In the op-ed and a new book, Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right, we argue that the opportunity to organize in the workplace is a fundamental human right that deserves protection under the Civil Rights Act, which has much more powerful sanctions than our labor laws.
Thursday, March 1st, 2012 - Princeton, NJ - The University will stop investing in the embattled hospitality firm HEI, ending more than three years of controversy on campus about the company’s alleged workers’ rights violations, Princeton University Investment Company president Andrew Golden confirmed in a statement to The Daily Princetonian late Wednesday night. The decision followed the actions of Yale, Brown and the University of Pennsylvania, which have all declined to reinvest.
The decision was met with swift approval by rights group UNITE HERE, which claims that HEI “has a growing record of exploitative labor practices at their hotels.” Princeton for Workers’ Rights has also strongly advocated that the University remove its investments in HEI in light of the allegations.
(Princeton, New Jersey) – In a Princeton Resource Committee meeting, President of Princeton University Investment
Company, Andrew Golden, stated that the University would no longer reinvest in private-equity hotelier, HEI Hospitality,
citing allegations regarding HEI’s compliance with regulations (see video here). Golden’s statement follows on the heels
of four other Ivy League universities making public statements regarding their investments in HEI Hospitality.
Last fall, Yale University, an anchor investor in all three HEI investment funds, made a decision not to reinvest in HEI.
Earlier last year, Brown University announced that it will not reinvest in HEI until the University is confident that the
hotelier is respecting the rights of its workers. In addition, the University of Pennsylvania stated publicly that it had no
current plans to make future investments in HEI-sponsored funds. Over the past few months, Vanderbilt, Swarthmore
and Cornell universities have also made similar statements.