Dining hall workers at Harvard University walked out today, challenging Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) to continue to provide meal service to the campus. The action came after the workers, represented by Unite Here Local 26, failed to reach an agreement with the university on a new contract. The previous agreement expired Sept. 17.
In a message to students on its website, HUDS said it will continue to provide meals, with modestly modified menu options, to undergraduates at 11 locations, including the Hillel Kosher Kitchen, while graduate students will still be able to get meals, also with modified menu options, at the Cronkhite Dining Room.
Six retail locations are scheduled to be closed over the duration of the strike, while three others will be open for modified service. Four student-run cafes remain open with normal hours and service.
The issue separating the two sides is compensation for workers over the summer, according to the Boston Globe. The union wants those who work a full year—including the summer—to receive a minimum annual salary of $35,000, while the university has countered with a stipend arrangement for summer workers along with a 10 percent wage increase over five years that would raise the average hourly wage from $21.89 to $24.08.
Harvard placed No. 19 on FM’s College Power Players listing in 2014, with more than 10,000 of its 21,000 students living on campus. Annual dining program revenues at the time were $64 million.