Harvard University students staged walkouts in support of dining hall staff on strike in October.
About 750 Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) employees united on the campus October 5 to protest the university’s reticence to increase their wages and offer better health benefits. They marched to Massachusetts Hall, the office of University President Drew G. Faust.
The strike ended less than two weeks later, when the food service workers voted in favor of a new five-year contract, ending the first strike at the Ivy League school in 33 years, reported the Washington Post.
This is the first time HUDS employees staged a protest during an academic year, the Harvard Crimson reported.
The Crimson also reported that a university spokesperson, Tania deLuzuriaga, said the union did little to cooperate with university officials. At the time, she criticized them for focusing more on the strike, than on finding a solution.
Students Get Involved
Frustrated with the ongoing battle with university officials and HUDS employees, Harvard students walked out of class and staged a sit-in. According to the Boston Globe, it was organized by SLAM (Student Labor Action Movement). On October 24, hundreds of students sat in the lobby of the administrative building in which the meeting between the union and officials were being conducted.
One SLAM organizer told the Globe, “Harvard students are angry that the administration continues to prioritize money over people,” the primary cause of the strike.
Multiple dining facilities on campus were closed during the strike.
The students said they would sit-in until the negotiations were finalized.
Aside from the students, HUDS employees received support from U.S Senator Elizabeth Warren and the city council.
Under the #HarvardStrike trend, one student tweeted: