Dear President Faust,
We are reaching out as a broad coalition of Harvard community members to ask for your support in ensuring fair contracts for dining hall workers, janitors, and security guards at Harvard.
At a forum last month in Adams House, workers, students, and faculty shared their concerns with the Harvard community. We heard from workers with diabetes who are worried that they will not be able to afford higher copays and deductibles. We heard from workers with children who would have to forego necessary treatment if it became more expensive. We heard from workers who cannot afford to pay the bills without summer work. We heard from students and faculty who support workers’ rights to affordable healthcare and year-round work.
We know that what affects any one of us affects all of us at Harvard. When any one of us cannot afford to pay for basic necessities, we all bear the responsibility. As the recent mumps outbreak has shown, when any member of our community is sick, everyone’s health is at risk. The dining hall staff, security guards, and janitors affected by these contract negotiations form the glue that holds the Harvard community together. To now deny them basic access to affordable healthcare services – to in turn jeopardize their safety and livelihood – fundamentally contradicts the principles of justice and equity that our University must stand for. We cannot afford to say that people are members of the Harvard community only when they are healthy, or only when classes are in session. Membership in the Harvard community is not part-time.
Please join our coalition of community groups in publicly supporting fair contracts with:
- Affordable health care as a right for everyone who works at Harvard.
- No healthcare plan changes that would shift costs to employees who use more health
care and disproportionately hurt people with chronic conditions.
- Year-round work for dining hall workers, janitors, and security guards in our
We are respecting the rules for your Office Hours and only sending in two student representatives. We invite you to come outside after your Office Hours are over to hear from other representatives of our coalition.
We are part of a growing coalition of Harvard organizations who are joining to insist that we not leave behind any member of our community. It is a coalition that includes UNITE HERE! Local 26, SEIU Local 32BJ, and the hundreds of workers, students, faculty, and community members who filled the Adams House Lower Common Room last month. We ask that you join us as One Harvard to support fair contracts in 2016.
UNITE HERE! Local 26
SEIU Local 32BJ
UAW Region 9A
Harvard Student Labor Action Movement
Harvard College Democrats
Harvard Islamic Society
Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance
Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee
Harvard Global Health and AIDS Coalition
Reclaim Harvard Law School
Harvard Medical School/Harvard School of Dental Medicine Racial Justice Coalition
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We, the workers at Harvard for whom you are advocating, thank you for our hearts for your caring and determination. Without such efforts, the trend at Harvard would have been to relentlessly whittle away at personnel expenditures, regardless of consequences to well-being of staffers. We who have been at Harvard for many years have repeatedly seen the evidence of a profound institutional indifference to the problems of least-empowered workers, be they custodians, security guards or Dining Services employees. The P.R. is prioritized more than a sincere commitment to do the right thing.