Enough is Enough! New England JLC Supports Harvard Dining Services Workers
Photo courtesy New England Jewish Labor Committee
September 28, 2016: Cambridge, MA – After four months, 19 negotiations, and zero progress, the dining service workers of Harvard University are fed up. As of Wednesday, these workers have gone on strike. With placards in hand and a drive to help the disenfranchised, the New England Jewish Labor Committee marched in solidarity with the workers on the picket line.
750 of the workers are represented by UNITE HERE Local 26. The union is asking for workers to receive a salary of $35,000 a year for those who wish to work year-round, and an affordable health care plan. Since the expiration of their previous contract on September 17th, the university has not entertained the union’s propositions. Harvard officials claim that the workers already make more than the usual amount for most food services workers in the area. They also claim that the changes to the health care plan, which would increase out-of-pocket expenses for the workers, are minute, for the university would cover up to 87 percent of the premiums. However, it appears that the university does not take into consideration how these changes affect its employees. A dining hall worker makes just a little over $30,000 before taxes. Many only get to work eight months out of the year, and are laid off during the summer. Not receiving a paycheck for four months along with the increased out-of-pocket healthcare expense would be devastating to many of the employees, especially those with health issues.
Harvard is the wealthiest university in the world, yet it refuses to adequately compensate the workers who feed and take care of students every day. Workers, students, and community members are standing up to say: Enough is enough! ¡Ya basta! Check out this in-depth article about the strike here
Support the strike:tinyurl.com/supportthestrike