Two years ago, workers at hotels managed by HEI Hotels & Resorts, the 7th largest hotel management company in the US, began fighting for a fair process to be able to organize at their jobs. Along with several other elite universities, Brown is invested in HEI, and because HEI has not respected the rights of workers, Brown SLA has led a campaign for Brown to stop investing in the unfair working conditions in HEI hotels.
In February 2010, after years of student pressure, President Ruth Simmons wrote a letter to HEI warning that if allegations of violations of workers’ rights by the company were to be true, this would be in conflict with Brown’s standards for investment. Brown SLA continued to push to end our school’s investment alongside workers at HEI Hotels in northern Virginia, San Francisco, Long Beach, and Irvine who have called for boycotts of their hotels, and the students at Notre Dame, UPenn, Yale, UChicago, Harvard, and Princeton who are part of the national student movement against HEI sweatshop hotels.
Then, in December 2010, the Brown Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Responsibility (ACCRIP) finally yielded to student and worker demands and recommended that the University no longer invest in HEI Hotels in the future. This unprecedented victory was covered in press including the Boston Globe, Providence Journal, and Harvard Crimson (full press coverage can be found here). Then, in February 2011, the Brown Corporation affirmed the recommendation by ACCRIP, making it official university policy. Brown SLA hopes that this landmark victory motivates other universities to likewise stop funding the mistreatment of workers in their workplaces, and ultimately results in respect and fair treatment for HEI workers.
Learn more about the national HEI campaign online at HEI Workers Rising.