Hotel Workers Picket Hilton Boston Over Right To Form Union

Hotel workers picketed outside the Hilton Boston Downtown in the Financial District yesterday, marching and chanting to protest what organizers say is an anti-union campaign being conducted by hotel management.

The employees recently notified management that they wanted to form a union. Since then, according to the head of the local hospitality workers union, managers have been meeting with workers to discourage them from organizing.

Harvard Law Dining Workers Join UNITE HERE

Harvard Local 26 chief steward Ed Childs and Harvard Law leader Alice Brown

On December 2, Restaurant Associates / Compass workers at Harvard Law School became the newest members of UNITE HERE Local 26.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said RA Union committee leader Willie Moore. “And now, if you take one of us on, you take all of us on.”

The Law School workers organized throughout the summer with the help of Harvard Food Service shop stewards and several volunteer Harvard student organizers.

The victory rode the wave of excitement from the successful contract campaign by the 550 workers at Harvard University who were already part of the union, who recently won a landmark new agreement with Harvard. The new contract brought about more than just wages and benefits, but also an ongoing Joint Best Practices Committee – modeled after the efforts of Local 34 and 35 at Yale – charged with finding solutions to sustainable foods, sustainable jobs and year-round employment.

Harvard Law School workers had started attending Harvard food service shop steward meetings even before their union recognition. With this victory, the last non-union group of service workers at Harvard University has joined with their sisters and brothers. Says Harvard Local 26 chief shop steward Ed Childs, “This is just the beginning. Now we’re going to be helping campus food service workers all around Boston to become part of the Union.”

Aramark resolves workers’ contract concerns

Dining service workers and Aramark have resolved the contract negotiations that dragged through the summer and into the new school year.

According to Dana Simon, UNITE HERE union representative, the corporation’s final offer was generous and ceded to many of the workers’ demands.

Brandeis Dining Hall Workers Win Contract

On October 10, 2011, Local 26 members at dining halls at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA ratified a new contract with Aramark that offers some of the same groundbreaking gains won by workers at Harvard dining halls last month.

Local 26 Harvard Members Win Groundbreaking Food Service Contract

Dining hall workers at Harvard, the country’s oldest university, have brought home a historic victory.

UNITE HERE Local 26’s 550 members at Harvard started organizing a contract campaign a year ago to push Harvard to provide sustainable food and create sustainable jobs. While Harvard workers had decent pay and benefits, their real earnings had been going down for years as Harvard cut back the number of hours worked.

Dining hall workers partnered with Harvard students who organized delegations, participated in demonstrations, sat on the bargaining committee, and even leafleted Harvard president Drew Faust. Workers from Local 35 at Yale came to Harvard to attend rallies and participate in contract negotiations.

As part of the contract settlement, Harvard agreed to create a joint committee with the union to adopt best practices for environmentally responsible food sourcing and preparation. Harvard also agreed to give Local 26 members priority hiring for jobs during the summer and winter recess. Harvard dining hall workers won language that says that Local 26 members have to be offered work, including overtime, before temporary jobs can be assigned.

Other key components to the ground-breaking contract included better protections for immigrant workers, better sick day coverage, seniority that workers carry with them throughout Harvard departments, significant wage increases, and a preservation of the quality health insurance with no increased payment by workers.

“This is a big victory,” said Dennis Papantonatos, a, Shop Steward and Bargaining Committee Member. “It moves us toward 12-month out of the year full employment, and it’s going to mean a lot of improvements in the quality of the food for the students.”