Tufts University dining hall workers win union vote, officially join UNITE HERE Local 26

Tufts Win

BOSTON, MA—About 150 dining hall workers have joined UNITE HERE Local 26 after an overwhelming vote in favor of unionization: 127 to 19. Following the NLRB vote, Tufts University dining hall workers are members of UNITE HERE Local 26 and can begin negotiating their first contract with the university.

“It’s an incredible feeling to finally have our union,” said Trish O’Brien, 29-year veteran of Tufts Dining Services. “We stood strong together. We are the unseen and the unheard, but now we are going to be seen and heard.”

“My time at Tufts has been filled with job insecurity,” said dining hall worker, Tsering Ngodup who has been classified as a temp for over five years. “But this journey to a union has shown me that the Tufts community is behind us.”

Earlier this April, 500 students joined workers as they formally announced their union, demanding recognition from Tufts University. Since then, 77 student groups have joined a coalition backing the food service worker’s union.

“We are overjoyed,” said Andrew Jeffries, Architecture and Environmental Studies Junior at Tufts University. “I feel very proud to be part of Tufts’ campus at this moment.”

“Students will continue to show our support in upcoming contract negotiations,” said Emma Ishida, Sophomore in American Studies and Cognitive and Brain Sciences. “Dining hall workers do so much for us. We won’t stop until they get the respect they deserve.”

Tufts workers join the union that successfully struck Harvard for 22 days in 2016, and narrowly averted a strike at Northeastern in 2017.

“With this vote, Tufts dining hall workers have once again demonstrated their strength and determination. They join with Local 26 members at Harvard and Northeastern who have set a new standard in the industry,” said UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang. “Tufts dining hall workers deserve no less.”


UNITE HERE Local 26 represents nearly 10,000 members working in the hotel, food service, and airport industries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. 


For Immediate Release: April 3, 2018