The below is a response from the Guggenheim Foundation to our letters of March 16 and April 18. In point form below that, are Gulf Labor’s preliminary notes on what we consider an empty and factually incorrect missive from the Guggenheim. Points responded to are in bold (our emphases). A more detailed response will follow shortly.
_________ Dated April 22, 2015
Dear Members of the Gulf Labor Working Group:
We note with interest your offer for constructive negotiations in relation to protections for the workers who will participate in the construction of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
As we have shared with you previously, the Guggenheim has been in constant dialogue with Tourism Culture Authority Abu Dhabi (TCA) and Tourism Development Invest Company (TDIC) about workers’ welfare, as well as in sustained conversations with other agencies of the UAE government and with international organizations that deal with issues related to migrant work in the UAE. Our focus has been on continued enhancements to EPP provisions and a general strengthening of enforcement, monitoring and reporting.
Again, please recognize that the main construction contract for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi has not yet been awarded. That said, we continue to pursue substantive improvements in anticipation of construction and have had several meetings in Abu Dhabi including as recently as last month.
The complex global issues surrounding migrant employment cannot be solved by a single project, but we are working fully within our sphere of influence to advocate for progress. Your continued isolation of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi as a symbol of indifference or inaction is neither accurate nor helpful to our shared aims.
Progress on several fronts has been made, and we are confident that more can be achieved through sustained and active engagement and by raising awareness of the health, safety, security and fair treatment of workers. Indeed, we welcome the announcement of the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute’s research initiative to develop greater understanding of the recruitment fees issue in particular.
Your proposals for a compensatory fund, as well as wage and bargaining changes are outside the Guggenheim’s range of authority. They are matters of federal law. We are committed to working cooperatively with our partners in the UAE to address these complex, intergovernmental issues.
We hope to work with you as well.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
________ Gulf Labor’s preliminary response, April 23, 2015: