On April 5, 2011, 550 food service workers at Harvard University and Harvard’s Business, Medical and Public Health schools began bargaining for a new contract.
Through years of struggle, which have included demonstrations, strikes and legendary sit ins, Harvard Local 26 members have won some of the best wages and benefits in the country.
But total income for Harvard’s workers has been going down even as hourly wages are going up. The average worker saw an almost $900 drop in annual wages from 2009 to 2010.
The cut in income has been partly because of an increase in the non-sustainable practice of outsourcing food production:
Many foods now arrive ready peeled, pre-sliced, pre-packaged, pre-processed and preserved. In the past items bread was baked fresh on campus and soup was from whole ingredients. Today we find that too often foods arrive at campus pre-prepared and pre-packaged.
We believe that this trend has decreased the quality of food and increased the level of waste in packaging.
In the hotels we’re fighting against fake “Green Programs” that take money away from workers. At Harvard, we’re fighting for a real “green” agenda: Sustainable Foods and Sustainable Jobs.
Our members are strong and they have the support of Harvard’s students, and we have a plan to win!