Council supports Northeastern dining hall workers
October 6, 2017
Northeastern University is one of Boston’s most important institutions of higher learning, and is an important employer in the heart of our City. The dining hall workers at Northeastern serve a crucial, but underappreciated role in the life of the university. Many of the more than 300 dining hall workers are long-time employers on the university campus however, the average dining hall worker earns less than $22,000 per year. Many of them must rely on public benefits, including subsidies for healthcare, housing, and food assistance.
On Oct 4, 2017, the City Council passed a resolution supporting these Northeastern employees. The Boston City Council calls on the administration of Northeastern University to do everything in its power to reach a fair and equitable agreement with its dining hall workers, and the body expresses its collective support for the workers, following their strike.
“We need to make sure that when people are working and working hard and working full time, that they are going to have a livable wage,” said Councilor Zakim.
The university’s subcontractor, Chartwells, and Local 26 UNITE-HERE have been participating in collective bargaining agreement negotiations since April 2017. The university, its subcontractor, and the union have the capacity and ability to find a resolution that ensures economic security for these workers and the normal operations for the university’s dining halls.
Councilor Jackson noted that the president of the university, President Aoun, has a yearly income of $3.1 million dollars and the yearly tuition at the university is $63,000. Councilor Jackson added, “Yes, we call them non-profits, but when when I see the head of a university making 3.1 million dollars, that doesn’t scream non-profit to me.”
At the meeting Councilor Pressley stated, “Following the strike online, I have been very encouraged by the number of students that are standing in solidarity with workers. These are students that are sharpening their tools and developing their minds to emerge into the world and this City to do good and take on many social injustices. I am glad that while they are students they are not turning a blind eye to or being complicent in their silence about the ways in which disparities and injustices are being perpetuated on their very campus.”