Striking dining hall workers walk picket lines at Harvard University WHDH-TV

Striking dining hall workers walk picket lines at Harvard University.

Dining hall workers walk off the job at Harvard University

Contract impasse prompts union representing Harvard University Dining Service employees to strike.

Dining hall workers at Harvard University have gone on strike over wages and health care benefits.

WHDH-TV reports that workers were walking picket lines at the Cambridge, Mass., campus to bring attention to the failure to reach a contract agreement with the university.

The strike started after months of unsuccessful negotiations between the dining workers’ union and school administrators.

The union says the university’s health care proposals are unaffordable to the workers. The university says the workers already receive generous wages and benefits compared with other food service workers in the region and characterizes changes to health plans as “modest.”

Some Harvard dining halls remain open and the university says it has a contingency plan to make sure that all students are fed.

The Harvard Crimson reports that negotiators for the dining service workers are seeking year-round work and a minimum salary of $35,000 for those who wish to work the whole year. In addition, the union has asked Harvard not to raise out-of-pocket health care costs. Negotiators say bargaining will continue during the strike. 

While the strike continues, the university's dining service department says it "is committed to supporting students in their academic work with as little disruption as possible while negotiations continue."

Video from WHDH-TV:

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