Last week, Cambridge Police arrested 11 individuals protesting after recent labor negotiations between Harvard and its dining staff fell through, with Harvard and its dining workers have been unable to move past a serious impasse over wages and health benefits. With workers elsewhere protesting their pay and benefits, we should look inward to address how the University treats its workers as well.
Here at the University, dining hall workers deserve better. The Charlottesville living wage is estimated to be $13.71 per hour plus benefits for a family of four with two working adults, which is significantly higher than the University’s base wage of $11.53 per hour, according to the Living Wage Campaign. Additionally, contracted workers can be paid as low as federal minimum wage, which is especially an issue for the University’s large Aramark dining workforce.
As we can see, Harvard isn’t the only school with these issues. We should pay our workers fairly and set an example for other schools to do the same.