By Brandon J. Dixon, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER
Over 200 Harvard affiliates gather to protest for higher wages and increased health benefits for Harvard University Dining Services Workers. The rally is the latest in a series of events SLAM has hosted since launching their “One Harvard” campaign. Thomas W. Franck UPDATED: April 14, 2016, at 11:15 p.m.
On a day when workers and students took to the streets across the country to rally for minimum wage reform, over 200 Harvard affiliates gathered in front of Massachusetts Hall to push for higher wages and increased health benefits for Harvard’s dining services employees.
The rally comes on the heels of the announcement earlier this week that Harvard made history in fundraising for its capital campaign, surpassing all of its peer institutions to yield an unprecedented amount of at least $6.5 billion in donations thus far.
Harvard is currently the world’s wealthiest university, touting a $37.6 billion endowment. Referencing the University’s financial strength, demonstrators marched in a circle chanting “Hey Harvard, you’ve got cash, why do you treat your employees like trash?” among other phrases.
Tania DeLuzuriaga, a spokesperson for the University, wrote in an emailed statement that “Local 26 employees currently receive highly competitive wages that are among the highest for the local and national workforce for comparable positions in the foodservice industry.”
Unite Here Local 26 is a local union that represents Harvard’s dining services employees.
Gabe G. Hogdkin ’18, a member of the Student Labor Action Movement, said he initially expected a turnout of around 75 people. Participants said they were surprised to see that more than 200 Harvard affiliates attended the march. Some had been notified about the event ahead of time, via Facebook; others passed by the demonstration and decided to join in.