For immediate release
October 20, 2016
Tiffany Ten Eyck
Entering Third Week on Strike, Harvard dining hall workers bring fight to Boston
Boston, MA—Harvard’s striking dining hall workers will take their fight out of Cambridge and south of the river into Boston today. Strikers will attend the Boston City Council meeting where Council President Michelle Wu will offer a resolution to support the striking workers.
More than 700 Harvard dining hall workers have been on strike since Oct. 5 to win annual incomes of at least $35,000 a year and to stop Harvard administrators from shifting health care costs onto workers.
A study by the city of Boston on growing income inequality reported nearly half of Boston’s workers made less than $35,000 a year. Half of Harvard’s dining services workers, even though they work for the richest university in the world, earn less than $35,000 a year. Harvard University has a $35 billion endowment and had a $62 million operating surplus at end of the 2015 fiscal year. A $35,000 yearly income represents one-billionth of Harvard’s endowment.
“We expect Harvard to be doing better than the average,” said UNITE HERE President Brian Lang. “Harvard can’t hide behind hourly wages when workers’ annual income puts them at the bottom end of earnings.”
Harvard’s dining hall strike has received national attention in its first two weeks. After Harvard administrators were unwilling to budge last week, striking dining hall workers began reaching out to decision makers at Harvard University, including President Drew Faust and the Harvard Fellows. On Saturday Oct. 22, Harvard dining hall workers are planning a major mobilization rally and march for supporters at Cambridge Common at 3pm.
Harvard dining hall workers are asking supporters to donate to their strike assistance fund so they can support strikers who are under the most financial strain through buying necessary items like diapers, formula, and food.