Open Letter to Hopkins University


       In October of 1970 I wrote an article in the Hopkins Newsletter headlined “Workers Support Union.” The article concerned itself with efforts by Hopkins Hospital service workers to gain a living wage. At the time, Hopkins still directly dealt with their employees, and so--without evasions--the battle was on between Johns Hopkins and its employees.

       It seems impossible to believe that, a full 30 years later, Hopkins--now hiding behind its front organizations, Dome Corporation and Broadway Services--is still exploiting its poorest workers in much the same way.

       Hopkins, a multi-billion-dollar tax-free institution, has become so rapacious that it takes in a million dollars a year in profit by keeping the wages of its most needy employees to the barest minimum. When confronted with these issues, the University would have us believe that it is the naughty Dome Corporation that is doing these evil things. They assume the public is too dumb to know that the only investor in Dome is Johns Hopkins University.

       I recognize that, as a Hopkins alumnus, I will be considered a traitor to the institution for these words. But the school motto is “The Truth Will Set You Free.” After 40 years, I think I am well within the bounds of propriety in asking President Brody and his associates to stop making me ashamed of my alma mater. After declaring a record fund-raising drive of over $1.5 billion, it is unconscionable for Hopkins not to provide a living wage for all employees. Come out into the warm sunlight of human rights, Johns Hopkins officials, and pay a living wage. Be proud that you are doing the right and proper thing. And for the sake of your own reputations, if not for the sake of a great university and hospital, do it now.

Wally Orlinsky,
Class of ’60       


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This story was published on August 30, 2000.