For Immediate Release: March 5, 2018
Tufts Dining Hall Workers Announce Strike Authorization Vote
Overwhelming majority of workers pledge to VOTE YES to strike
MEDFORD, MA – Surrounded by hundreds of UNITE HERE Local 26 dining hall workers, hotel workers, and Tufts students, Tufts University dining hall workers announced they will be holding a strike vote on March 14. After eight months of negotiations, an overwhelming majority of dining hall workers have pledged to VOTE YES to strike, taking the next step to win their first union contract.
In April 2018, Tufts University dining hall workers formed their union and joined UNITE HERE Local 26 with an overwhelming majority voting in favor in their National Labor Relations Board election. Workers are demanding equal treatment of all Tufts dining hall workers and equal terms with dining hall contracts throughout Boston. Tufts University has historically used a “temporary” worker classification that prevents nearly a third of dining hall workers from qualifying for the same wages and benefits as “full-time” classified workers, despite working full-time schedules and with comparable job duties. Many have remained in this “temp” position for years on end.
Last Thursday, Somerville City Council voted unanimously in support of a resolution backing Tufts dining hall workers and their demands to be treated equally with other Boston university food service workers. Over the past ten years, UNITE HERE Local 26 dining hall workers in Boston have transformed the industry from part-time, poverty jobs into sustainable careers that support families and communities. Since 2011, food service workers at schools like Northeastern University, Simmons College, and Lesley University, have joined Local 26 and won affordable healthcare, meaningful wage increases and scheduling protections.
“I currently pay over $800 a month for family healthcare. I take care of my 2-year-old son, my partner and myself,” said Lucson Aime, a cook at Tufts University for over seven years. “We can no longer afford daycare because after paying our healthcare costs, there is nothing to cover childcare. My coworkers and I should not be forced to choose between healthcare and daycare for our kids. We should be able to pay for both, and more, while working for one of the richest universities in Massachusetts.”
Tufts workers are encouraged by the successful Marriott Strike of 2018, where workers at seven Marriott-operated hotels in Boston went on strike for 46 days winning landmark gains.
In October 2016, Local 26 Harvard dining services workers went on strike for 22 days, the first strike on Harvard’s campus in over 30 years. The following year, Northeastern University dining hall workers won their contract after a strike was averted.
UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang said, “We call on Tufts Administration to recognize the urgency of this moment. We will not back down from the life-changing contract we seek at Tufts University.”
UNITE HERE Local 26 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents over 10,000 members working in the hotel, food service, and airport industries in Boston and Rhode Island. Learn more at www.local26.org
UNITE HERE represents over 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, and airport industries across the US and Canada. Learn more at www.unitehere.org.