Harvard, striking dining hall workers make deal

The Boston Globe | By Katheleen Conti
October 25, 2016

harvard-strikeHarvard University announced in the early morning hours Tuesday it has reached a tentative agreement with its dining hall workers who have been on strike for nearly three weeks.

The details of the agreement have not been publicly announced.

The settlement announcement came nearly 12 hours after a marathon bargaining session Monday that was punctuated by a student sit-in in the Cambridge office building where negotiations were taking place, with more than 200 participants pressing administrators to meet the demands of the workers and settle the contract. The sit-in was part of a larger action by more than 300 students who walked out classes in support of the striking workers.

About 750 Harvard food service workers went on strike Oct. 5. The workers were pushing Harvard to commit to paying annual wages of at least $35,000 workers who worked full time and to absorb proposed health insurance cost increases instead of passing them on to the workers.
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Several dining hall workers picketed outside the offices at 124 Mount Auburn St. Monday and into the night as the marathon bargaining session continued upstairs, while the number of students occupying the lobby inside dwindled to a few dozen as the hours ticked by. The students, who only expected to stay until 5 p.m., when negotiations were scheduled to end for the day, left the building around 10:30 p.m. after Cambridge and Harvard police said they could no longer remain in the building, according to social media accounts from people participating in the sit-in.

The food service workers’ contract ended Sept. 17 after the union agreed to extend it beyond its original expiration in June. Negotiations began May 20, but after 19 fruitless sessions, UNITE HERE Local 26, the union representing the workers, announced they would strike starting Oct. 5. It was the first strike at Harvard since 1983.

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