The Guild Stands with Harvard University Dining Services Workers
Yesterday afternoon, over 200 people gathered at First Parish in Cambridge to stand and march with Harvard Dining Services workers. These UNITE HERE Local 26 members are prepared to strike unless the university addresses their concerns about pay and benefits. At the event, food service workers who have been at Harvard for ten, twenty, and thirty years spoke about their commitment to serving the students and the struggles they face because they are not paid enough to extend the same care to their families. Union members shared stories of their inability to afford nutritious meals for their own children; the insecurity that comes with four months without pay every the summer; and the skyrocketing costs of healthcare that make it difficult to manage long-term health issues such as diabetes. Harvard undergraduate and medical students also spoke about their dedication to supporting dining service workers in their fight against the richest university in America.
As the Guild’s new Father Ed Boyle Fellow, this was my first chance to attend a protest on behalf of the Labor Guild, and stand in solidarity with union members who are fighting for stability and security for themselves and their families. The energy of the workers and their allies who were present, as well as their dedication to continued action, was a powerful way to kick off the year. Seeing students, workers, and other individuals connected to the Harvard community demand justice was a clear example of what it means to strengthen communities through love and connection, in the face of powerful forces that seek to divide. I look forward to being part of this fight and others in the months to come.
Rachel Leiken, Community Outreach Coordinator and Father Ed Boyle Fellow
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