Exactly which elite, liberal institution does have to live up to the Left’s values?
posted at 9:31 pm on May 20, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham
The New York Times caught up in an equal-pay dispute.
The White House has repeatedly been shown to be guilty of the same sin against liberal doctrine.
Same with the offices of incumbent Senate Democrats.
Media Matters for America didn’t want its employees unionizing.
And, now, NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus has been flagrantly flouting liberal values in its construction. NYU, in the style of President Obama, is just finding out about this, as mad as anyone if the allegations prove true, and determined to get to the bottom of this.
New York University issued an apology on Monday to any workers on its newly completed Abu Dhabi campus who were “not treated in line with the standards we set,” after The New York Times reported widespread abuses among a labor force that numbered about 6,000 at its peak.
The article described workers being arrested, beaten and deported to their home countries after striking over pay. Recruitment fees, of approximately a year’s wages, were all but required, and laborers had to work overtime, sometimes seven days a week, to earn the base pay they were promised. Not one of the dozens of workers interviewed had his own passport. Some were living in filthy, crowded apartments.
These conditions aren’t especially rare in big construction projects of the United Arab Emirates, and NYU knew this. The university had ostensibly planned for avoiding just this problem. But again, in the style of President Obama, they had prepared for it by saying it was a problem on which they would brook no violations, and then promptly went about building their project without ever checking whether any of their values were being honored. Totally checked out.
In 2009, after announcing the project, N.Y.U. had issued a “statement of labor values” saying those building N.Y.U. Abu Dhabi would be treated better.
In a statement to the N.Y.U. community, its president, John Sexton, called the workers’ treatment, “if true as reported, troubling and unacceptable.”
“They are out of line with the labor standards,” he continued, “we deliberately set for those constructing the ‘turnkey’ campus being built for us on Saadiyat Island and inconsistent with what we understood to be happening on the ground for those workers.”
In a separate statement, to the website NYU Local, a spokesman, John Beckman, wrote “To any worker who was not treated in line with the standards we set and whose circumstances went undetected and unremedied, we offer our apologies.”
Mr. Beckman added that N.Y.U. would work with “our Abu Dhabi partners” and Mott MacDonald, the compliance monitor for the project, to look into the findings by The Times, which were “so at odds with the labor values we put in place.”
At this rate, in a couple months, this will be a “phony scandal,” and in a year it’ll be old news. Too bad for this guy:
Ramkumar Rai, a Nepali immigrant who worked on the N.Y.U. campus until a year ago, told The Times that he and a friend were still waiting for the last six months’ of his wages, which were 16 months overdue. Told of the apology, he asked, “When will the money come? If the money comes it will be O.K.”
When social conservatives are caught in extramarital affairs, we are told by liberals who usually insist that one’s private life should be no biggie as long as it doesn’t affect one’s ability to govern, that the social conservative must pay a price because of the hypocrisy. Frankly, that’s largely fair. But when it comes to tax cheats or other violators of the liberal value system, we are told that conservatives have no standing on which to demand a hefty price, hypocrisy be damned. Conservatives are seemingly aggressively held to the standards of both parties but liberals to the values of neither.
The last couple months makes one wonder if the reason liberals always demand laws to make everyone adhere to their values, is because they can’t manage to live up to them on their own. They have to be forced.