The Cambridge City Council passed two resolutions Monday night that backed local labor unions struggling to negotiate with employers.
The first resolution voiced support for food service workers at Lesley University, who have complained of inadequate compensation and a lack of cooperation from University officials.
Last March, the service workers joined a union for local hospitality workers to demand better pay, affordable health insurance, job security, and a 40-hour work week. But the move generated little change in their situation, according to workers who attended Monday’s meeting.
Many of the workers who spoke Monday argued that the median hourly wage paid by Lesley—$11.06 per hour—is not a living wage, forcing them to take multiple jobs to make ends meet.
Randy Wright, who lives in Dorchester, said that he has been a cook for 35 years and has worked at Lesley for the last five. He told the Council that he cannot afford to live in Cambridge on his less than $20,000 per year salary.
Community members and students also spoke on behalf of the service workers.
“It’s difficult to be proud of a school whose actions don’t line up with the values that they preach,” said Theresa Powers, a student at Lesley University. “It is appalling that these workers feed me every day but can’t put food on their own plates.”