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Dining Hall Workers at Northeastern University Announce Strike Vote, Prepare for Potential Strike

For Immediate Release  September 20, 2017                                                                   

Contact: Tiffany Ten Eyck, 313-515-1807,  tteneyck@local26.org

More than 300 have already workers pledged to vote to strike

BOSTON, MA—Inspired by last October’s strike at Harvard University, food service workers at Northeastern University announced tonight they have called for a strike vote on October 4. At the event, they unveiled a photo display of the more than 300 workers that have already pledged to vote “yes” to strike if necessary.

Workers, who are members of UNITE HERE Local 26, have been in negotiations since April in hopes of reaching an agreement on a new contract. Negotiations will continue throughout the month.

“Northeastern is ignoring the crisis of poverty that many of us face,” said food service worker Angela Bello. “Too many of us who work full time at Northeastern University are not paid enough to live with dignity. ”

Northeastern dining hall workers are making the same demands that led to a 22-day strike at Harvard University: the ability to earn at least $35,000 a year for full-time work and affordable health care. The average dining worker at Northeastern made less than $22,000 last year. Many qualify for and rely on public assistance such as low-income housing, “food stamps,” and Mass Health.

“With what Northeastern pays me, I can’t afford to pay for the academic programs my 11-year old daughter needs, or for her to have her own bedroom apart from her two younger siblings,” said food service worker Shante McCorvey. “We live in low-income housing and every day is a struggle.”

“It’s unconscionable that dining service workers at such a prestigious Boston institution as Northeastern University must rely on welfare to get by,” said UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang. “Our members are insisting upon the sum of $35,000 a year for full time work and affordable healthcare. We hope that Northeastern will find its way to support this modest proposal without a strike.”

“We interact with dining hall workers every single day, and we know how hard they work,” said Jessica Dampier, a third year Psychology major. “It’s important to me that we use our power as students to support all members of the Northeastern community. This is our university, and we demand that it treats every worker with respect and dignity.”

Ed Note:

Campaign video available here: https://www.facebook.com/uniteherelocal26/videos/1231538220285830

Photos and raw video from tonight’s event available upon request.