Striking Harvard Workers Take their Fight to Harvard Fellows


Striking Harvard Workers Take their Fight to Harvard Fellows

Workers and alumni demand action from Harvard’s real decision makers as administrators fail to end strike after a week

Harvard dining hall workers who are on their 9th day of a strike for annual incomes of at least $35,000 a year and to stop the administration’s demand that they pay more for basic medical services are reaching out to Harvard’s real decision makers.

On Thursday, UNITE HERE local affiliates and Harvard alumni will protest outside the offices of Harvard Corporation fellows in New York City, DC, Chicago, Berkeley, Menlo Park, Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. They are demanding that the Harvard Corporation— comprised of 13 fellows and Harvard University President Drew Faust—intervene to help food service workers reach an agreement.

Harvard dining hall workers have been on strike since October 5th. Workers began negotiations with Harvard administrators May 20th and have held more than 20 sessions. The strike has gained national attention and the support of undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, Harvard employees and faculty. Workers, students and staff have picketed, marched and rallied all over Harvard University campus and Harvard Square for eight days but the administration has yet to resolve this issue.

“It is clear to us that all this time we’ve been bargaining with people who are not actually able to make decisions for Harvard University,” said UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang. “We call on the decision makers of Harvard University to step forward to meet with us so we can come to a just agreement.”

The Harvard Corporation “exercises fiduciary responsibility with regard to the University’s academic, financial, physical resources and overall well-being.” The Corporation is made up of 13 fellows, the President and the Treasurer.

The corporation’s fellows include: Joseph O’Donnell, chairman of the board of Centerplate, Karen Gordon Mills, president of private equity group MMP Group, Laurence Bacow, former president of Tufts University, Shirley M. Tilghman, former president of Princeton University and director for Google Inc, Nannerl O. Keohane, former president of Duke University and Wellesley College, Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and CEO of the American Express Company, Susan L. Graham, James Breyer, William F. Lee, Jessica Tuchman Mathews, Theodore V. Wells, Jr., and Paul Finnegan.


For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Contact: Tiffany Ten Eyck, [email protected], 313-515-1807

BREAKING: Harvard dining hall workers will strike, pickets begin at 6am tomorrow

BREAKING: Harvard dining hall workers to strike at 6:00am

Amidst wide student support, Harvard administration fails to reach agreement with workers

Cambridge, MA—After failing to reach an agreement today, Harvard’s dining hall workers will be on strike starting Wednesday morning. Instead of clocking in for their shifts, workers will be picketing at dozens of locations across Harvard’s undergraduate and graduate campuses. The strike will continue until a fair agreement is reached.

The two principal demands of Harvard’s dining hall workers are affordable health care and sustainable incomes of at least $35,000 a year.

Harvard dining hall workers are asking Harvard to back off proposals that would make basic medical services, such as taking their kids to the doctor, prohibitively expensive.

Harvard students have shown overwhelming support for the dining hall workers. The Harvard Undergraduate Council and the Harvard Crimson Editorial Board have endorsed the strike. Harvard Medical School students have called the University’s proposals unaffordable. Graduate students at Harvard Law School, Harvard Divinity School, and Harvard School of Public Health have all pledged support. More than 3,300 signatures have been added to an online support petition.

Bargaining between Harvard’s food service workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 26, and Harvard administration began May 20. Dining hall workers were not able to reach an agreement with administrators during Tuesday’s sessions, which were the 19th time the sides have met.

What: Harvard dining services workers on strike

When: Wednesday, October 5

Key media opportunities:

6:00 am – Picket line, Annenberg hall (main cafeteria for first years), 45 Quincy St,

9:00 am – Picket lines will converge in rally, Science Center Plaza, 1 Oxford St, Cambridge,

Who: Harvard food service workers on strike, Harvard undergraduate and graduate students

Visuals: Harvard dining hall workers chanting and holding picket signs outside of Annenberg hall in 6am, the main cafeteria for Harvard freshmen; striking workers getting materials out of 29-foot motor homes functioning as mobile strike headquarters

Contact: Tiffany Ten Eyck, [email protected], 313-515-1807

Harvard dining hall workers prepare mobile strike headquarters

Harvard dining hall workers prepare to strike Wednesday

As negotiations continue, workers establish mobile strike headquarters

Cambridge, MA— Harvard University dining hall workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 26, are finalizing strike plans. On Tuesday afternoon, workers will assemble hundreds of picket signs, review strike assignments, and load strike supplies into four 29-foot RVs that will serve as mobile Strike Headquarters. If a settlement is not reached, pickets will go up at 16 locations on Wednesday.

Negotiators will continue to meet on Monday and Tuesday in hopes of hammering out a deal that would avert the strike. Tuesday will mark the 19th session of bargaining that began May 20.

Dining hall workers’ key concerns are affordable health care and the ability to earn sustainable incomes of at least $35,000 a year. The Harvard Administration is proposing workers pay more for basic medical services, including taking their kids for check-ups.

What: Harvard dining hall workers and students will make picket signs and load strike supplies, such as bullhorns, bucket drums, cases of water, into four 29-foot strike support RVs

When: Tuesday, October 4, 12pm to 6pm

Where: 1A Garden St, Harvard Square

Who: Harvard kitchen and cafeteria workers in uniform, Harvard undergraduate and graduate students.

Visuals: Workers and students stapling together picket signs, putting batteries in bullhorns, and carrying supplies into strike support RVs.


UNITE HERE Local 26 represents 9,000 workers in the hospitality industries of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Our members work in Boston’s best hotels, restaurants, and university dining halls in addition to the Boston Convention Centers, Fenway Park and Logan International Airport. We clean hotel rooms, greet guests, and prepare and serve food for hundreds of thousands of travelers to New England. Learn more at

Media contact: Tiffany Ten Eyck, [email protected], 313-515-1807



ABC News: Harvard’s Dining Hall Workers Preparing for Strike