Treatment of copper (0) with sodium hydroxide

I recently made self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanethiols on a copper substrate. After scrubbing off the $\ce{Cu2O}$ top layer and rubbing the surface with ether and ethanol, I let my copper plates stand in a 5% (w/w) $\ce{NaOH}$ solution for 5 minutes, which I then throughly rinsed off with deionized water.

I'm wondering if I could skip this step. I'm not sure what it is needed for. My knowledge of chemistry tells me that $\ce{Cu(0)}$ should not react with sodium hydroxide. I'm also positive that any grease or other contaminants were washed off in the previous steps.

What do you think?

$\ce{Cu(0)}$ will not be attacked by $\ce{NaOH}$, and will not decompose in this aqueous environment at room temperature. So, this is not to create some reaction with the copper. Two uses I can think of:
1. $\ce{NaOH}$ increases the solubility of $\ce{Cu2O}$, so maybe this is a way of getting rid of the last remaining copper oxide.