Harvard University, with a reputation as a progressive and socially aware institution boasts a $35.7M endowment - larger than the combined endowments of two of its competitors in the Ivy League (Yale and Columbia), and on a global scale, larger than the economies of nearly 100 countries.
The University’s 750 food workers went on strike Wednesday after negotiations failed to produce a new contract. At issue are health care costs and sustainable wages.
The average dining hall worker makes $22/hour wage, Harvard is quick to point out, but annual income is only $30K average, and health insurance costs employees $3k a year. The workers are looking for upwards of $24/hour by the end of a five-year contract. In addition, food workers face long periods without work, and are not eligible for unemployment during summer and winter academic breaks.
No new negotiations are set, and the University has stocked up on frozen foods and is using non-union temp helpers.
According to The Harvard Crimson, the University’s campus newspaper, the dining workers have received “an outpouring of student support, including a rally last week in Harvard Yard, which drew over 400 Harvard affiliates.”
While this is the first strike in more than 30 years, Harvard has a nasty history when it comes to cruel tactics and union busting. Read about past University presidents, Charles W. Eliot, and Abbott Lawrence Lowell and their extreme anti-worker tactics at the link below.