Dining-service workers at Harvard University didn’t report to work on Wednesday, marking the first time in the institution’s 380-year history that there has been a strike during the academic year, The Harvard Crimson reports. It’s also the first strike by university employees since 1983.
The unionized workers, about 750 in all, decided to strike on Tuesday night after months of protracted negotiations over wages and health-care benefits. The previous contract expired on September 17.
“All the money they have, and they still want to squeeze every bit out of us,” Anabela A. Pappas, a dining-hall worker, told the Crimson. “You greedy people. This is what you caused, not us. We didn’t want to be here.”
Harvard’s $35.7-billion endowment is the largest of any university in the world.
— Lauren A. Sierra (@laurenasierra) October 5, 2016
The university said in a statement that it had “proposed creative solutions to issues presented by the union,” and it was disappointed that the union appeared to be “more interested in planning a strike than working on a solution that meets the needs of their members and the wider community.”
According to the Crimson, Harvard officials prepared for the strike by stockpiling frozen food. Most of Harvard’s dining halls were open to students on Wednesday and were staffed by managers, student workers, and other university staff members.
— Ignacio Sabate (@ignacio_sabate) October 5, 2016