December 17, 2010
The Brown University Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policy (ACCRIP) has recommended that the University should not reinvest in HEI until it is confident that HEI is respecting workers’ rights. Check out the email from the committee chair to the Brown Student Labor Alliance that summarizes the Committee’s action. Also see the press release from the Brown Student Labor Alliance.
———- Forwarded message ———-
Dear members of the Brown Student Labor Alliance:
On December 7, 2010 I sent a letter to President Ruth Simmons on behalf of ACCRIP explaining our unanimous recommendation that Brown should not reinvest in HEI Hotels in the future. This decision will be posted to our website but I would like to inform you immediately given your interest in this matter.
In reaching its decision ACCRIP thoroughly and diligently considered pertinent materials submitted by the Investment Office, the Brown SLA and HEI, including the record of settlements mediated by the National Relations Board in which HEI agreed to post notices at the affected hotels and, in one case, to reinstate a dismissed worker who had been involved in the unionization movement without, nonetheless, as a condition for the settlements, admitting to any violation of the National Labor Relations Act. After thoughtful deliberations, ACCRIP concluded that while HEI had not been found guilty of violations of the labor code, a persistent pattern of allegations involving the company’s treatment of workers and interference with their efforts to unionize, combined with repeated settlements, as described above, raised serious questions whether Brown’s continued association with HEI would be consistent with the ethical principles governing the university’s investments. ACCRIP has recommended, therefore, that Brown University should refrain from reinvesting in HEI until the Corporation is confident that HEI adheres to our high standards regarding respectful and humane treatment of workers, and that workers at HEI-operated hotels are able to seek union representation without fear of intimidation. We have also recommended that before making any decision to reinvest, the administration, with the assistance of ACCRIP, should carefully consider current matters relating to HEI in order to reach an informed judgment about labor/management relations and work conditions at HEI-operated properties.
It is important to notice that ACCRIP has taken no position regarding UNITE HERE’s preference for card check versus HEI management’s preference for an election, which the committee believes to be a matter to be negotiated between the company and the union.
Let me take this opportunity to thank the Brown SLA for bringing this matter to the committee’s attention and for pursuing it with us over the past two years.
With best wishes,
Luiz F. Valente
Click here to read the press release.