SLAM Pushes for Campus-Wide Support for Dining Workers

As the deadline for a new agreement between Harvard and its dining services employees looms in June, student organizations have ramped up efforts to show support for workers affected by the round of talks.

This week, the Student Labor Action Movement—an undergraduate organization that has previously hosted events for campus unions—launched a website to serve as an online hub for their efforts. Dubbed the “One Harvard Campaign,” the website includes material about the group’s push to create a coalition of Harvard students, faculty, and staff rallying behind the goals of higher wages and more health care benefits for workers at the University.

The campaign emphasizes the interconnectedness of Harvard worker issues and student life, Gabe G. Hodgkin ’18 said.

“The basic idea is that it’s a sort of very simple way of showing that we are a community,” Hodgkin said. “It’s a small way of showing that we know that what affects them affects all of us.”

In order to illustrate those connections, SLAM launched a social media campaign Monday to encourage students to post selfies with dining staff on various social media accounts tagged with the hashtags #HUDSlove, #OneHarvard, and #WorkingForaHealthyHarvard. The third is the same hashtag members of the graduate student unionization effort use to publicize their campaign.

In addition to the selfie campaign, SLAM partnered with the Harvard College Democrats to host a panel on health care Tuesday night. HUDS workers discussed their individual experiences with health care benefits while students from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Medical School presented information on recent health care trends.

College Democrats and SLAM have increasingly collaborated over the course of the semester, members said. Last week, members of SLAM, with support from the College Democrats, presented University President Drew G. Faust with a letter encouraging her to support campus dining staff in their upcoming negotiations. In February, the College Democrats reiterated their commitment at a “Speak Out Event” hosted SLAM hosted.

Devontae A. Freeland ’19, the campus outreach director for the College Democrats, noted that the collaboration stems from an overlap in club membership.

“I think there’s always been a recognition of that connection, but in this newest campaign, we really want to formalize it,” he said.

SLAM and the College Democrats are set to join members of the Graduate Student unionization movement and other campus organizations at an event next week called “Stop the Leaky Pipeline” which will focus on hiring practices at Harvard.

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