Everything you need to know about Harvard’s dining hall strike
And what the media has got wrong so far
It’s been a long time coming
Local 26, the HUDS workers’ union, has been negotiating their contracts with Harvard for over three months, as Harvard proposed changes that would impact “workers’ health care, co-pays for prescriptions, doctor visits, and even critical tests and procedures.”
They have also been criticized for forcing unpaid leave during school breaks. The university’s most recent negotiations have supposedly been insincere, inciting a near-unanimous vote to strike in September.
HUDS workers have formally protested seven times since the 1930s, and marched irregularly during the spring, but this is the first time they have gone on strike during the academic year – engaging students and the media more than ever before.
The media is seriously confused
The Washington Post recently published an outrageous account of strike preparations. The only students they interviewed were freshmen (who, understandably, felt a little shaken), and assumed everyone anticipated this “doomsday” by hoarding fruit and ordering ramen in bulk. They even cited FlyBy satire as a legitimate news source.
This morning, The Crimson also shared distorted news of the strike. Titled “For Students, Strike Adds to Midterm Stress,” the piece follows the petty inconveniences of “blaring sounds” and picket lines for busy students. It has been criticized on Facebook for its whining, student-centric perspective on a critical, HUDS-centric discussion.
Harvard students will not go hungry
The school has already made plenty of accommodations for this strike. Dean of Students Katherine O’Dair emailed students two days ago with a full description, including longer dining hours and expanded access to FlyBy. Outside of Cabot, Dunster, and Kirkland, meals are still hot, varied, and delicious – there’s no reason to panic.
You can be a part of it
Although we can’t forget that this is a strike by and for HUDS workers – regardless of our midterm schedules – there are still many ways to get involved. Picket lines are easy to join, and can be found from Annenberg to Mt Auburn Street (bonus points if you bring extra food for other protesters). Students can also sign an online petition, join the formal dine-in on Thursday night, and avoid HUDS-staffed cafes at the GSD, HBS, etc. There may be smaller tasks as well; feel free to talk with HUDS workers about what more you can do.