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News :: Labor
Students Hunger Strike at Harvard Forces AlliedBarton to Negotiate with Workers Union
09 May 2007
Cambridge, Mass—Today is the seventh day of the student hunger strike at Harvard University, where as many as 11 students are protesting the administration’s lack of involvement in wage negotiations between security guards and an outsourced contractor, AlliedBarton. One of the students, Javier Castro, was hospitalized Tuesday for dangerously low sodium and electrolyte levels; a second student was not allowed to leave the hospital premises and is currently under medical supervision.

“The strike has made an extreme difference,” said Milton Scope, a security guard at Harvard’s Longwood Campus. “The contractor was just going in circles. It’s only now that they are trying to seriously sit down at the negotiating table.” Nine guards came personally to thank the students for their sacrifice and confirmed that negotiations with AlliedBarton that same morning were moving along, although the main issue of wage increases was not addressed and re-tabled for tomorrow morning.
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Harvard Student Hunger Strike Forces AlliedBarton to Negotiate with Workers Union
“They continue to drag their feet with the wage proposal. We told them we need to see it now. If it’s the same $12.68, we’re going to fight,” said Mike Gallagher to the students gathered today. “We can’t tell you how much we appreciate your efforts. You are an inspiration to us.”

According to the Stand for Security student coalition, outsourced Harvard security guards working for AlliedBarton currently make a minimum starting wage of $12.68 an hour, with no wage increases for workers with seniority. The Service Employment International Union (SEIU) is asking for a minimum starting wage of $15 an hour, on par with other campus service workers such as custodians—who start at $15.50 an hour—and dining hall workers—who start at $14.40.

“This is bigger than a Harvard union contract. For AlliedBarton, this is the pioneering contract for the rest of their business in Massachusetts and they have to be careful,” said Dominic De Loretta, Longwood campus security guard.

Today, the Harvard Undegraduate Council also joined the growing coalition of students in favor of a living wage for security guards. “Students have a stake on what’s going on in their community, and we’re going to hold this issue to a higher moral standard than this administration has had so far,” said Ryan Peterson, UC president.

Yesterday, about 200 students once again were able to shut down the President’s administrative offices as well as Holyoke Center which holds several Harvard clerical departments inlcuding the Office of Labor Relations. The five-floor building was completely surrounded by university police as the students chanted, “What's outrageous? Harvard's wages! What’s disgusting? Union busting!” One of the students was allowed in to deliver a petition of as many as 1,800 signatures to Bill Murphy, Director of Harvard’s Labor and Employee Relations, who said the situation was out of his hands.

Meanwhile, the Stand for Security blog announced today that many of the students parents are holding a one-day solidarity fast with their children. “As Jenn's parents we stand in solidarity with the security officers who are also parents and have to struggle to provide for their children. We fast today in support of the students and the workers and hope that the situation will be quickly resolved,” said Ruth Provost, mother of Clare Provost, one of the 11 strikers.

Evident in their faces is how the students’ physical strength is slowly waning, but their fighting moral continues. “Final exams start on the 17th and we probably won’t do as well as we hoped, but this struggle is worth it,” said Jamila Martin, Harvard senior.

“I know that the students are the voice of today and tomorrow,” said Milton Scope from Randolph, Mass., and main provider to a daughter and three grandkids. “The student movement and participation has made a huge turn around in our case.”

ALSO SEE:
Fifth Day of Hunger Strike: Harvard President’s Administration Vacates the Premises
http://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/199300/index.php

Harvard Hunger Strike for Workers Rights
http://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/199237/index.php
See also:
http://stand4security.blogspot.com/

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Student Hospitalized, Workers Still without Fair Wages & Conditions - Five Things You Can Do
09 May 2007
DAY 7: SUPPORT THE HARVARD HUNGER STRIKE

Student hospitalized, workers still without fair wages, conditions

Last Thursday, 11 students at Harvard University began an indefinite hunger strike in support of hundreds of newly unionized security guards at Harvard, in their fight to win a first contract with fair wages, steady employment, fair procedures, and the right to organize.

Yesterday, Javier Castro, one of the strikers, was hospitalized with dangerously low levels of sodium. He has refused to eat and is continuing the strike from the hospital. Harvard President Derek Bok
also continues to refuse to meet with students or workers.

The hunger strike coincided with the recent decision by AlliedBarton, the private security firm contracted by Harvard, to walk away from
the bargaining table in contract negotiations with SEIU Local 615.

Students, workers, and community members are standing up for security, which we believe begins with justice. We believe that it IS Harvard's responsibility to ensure decent working conditions on our campus. So far, 28 student organizations and 2000 students, faculty, alumni and community members have said they agree with us.

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT NOW MORE THAN EVER.

For more information about the campaign and the latest press coverage: http://www.stand4security.org

Here are five things you can do to help today and every day:

1. Send a message to Harvard President Derek Bok!
http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/harvard_security/7kk87e4rbtnnwd?

2. Send a message to AlliedBarton CEO William Whitmore at
http://www.unionvoice.org/ct/k7zzGx51vchz

3. Sign the petition! http://www.unionvoice.org/ct/u7zw44K1XPyR/

4. Call Harvard President Derek Bok, 617-495-1502
Call Director of Labor Relations Bill Murphy, 617-496-9193
Call AlliedBarton Security: 610-239-1100

5. If you're in Boston: Join the hunger strikers and the workers
every day at 1 PM in Harvard Yard. They need you!

Sample Script:

Hello. My name is ______ and I am a student at _______. I am writing to express my support for Harvard security officers as they bargain for a better contract. They are members of the
Harvard community and they should be rewarded fairly for the hard work they do. Security officers deserve wages as high as any other service workers on campus, safe and sanitary working
conditions, full-time employment, fair procedures, and the right to organize! I am appalled that a university that purports to hold so much wisdom could be so ignorant of the basic needs and rights of people. It's time to stop denying your responsibility and start standing for security!

Sample Letter:

Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],

I am writing to express my support for Harvard security officers as they bargain for a better contract. They are members of this community, they are fathers and mothers, they are friends and
neighbors, and they should expect to be rewarded fairly for the hard work they do. $12.68/hour is not nearly enough; paying basic bills should not be a daily struggle. Security officers deserve wages as high as any other service workers on campus,
safe and sanitary working conditions, full-time employment, fair procedures, and the right to organize! Would you accept anything less for yourselves?

I am appalled that a university that purports to hold so much wisdom could be so ignorant of the basic needs and rights of people. I am appalled that a university that believes all students should be trained in "moral reasoning" could reason so immorally. Stop denying your responsibility and start standing for security!

--------------------------------------------------

Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.

http://www.unionvoice.org/join-forward.html?domain=massjwj&r=31zzGx51ZTx-

--------------------------------------------------
See also:
http://www.stand4security.org
Related stories on this site:
Students Hunger Strike at Harvard Forces AlliedBarton to Negotiate with Workers Union
COPS ARE NOT WORKERS
10 May 2007
Harvard anarcho-liberal activists show their true loyalties. THEY WILL TO ANYTHING FOR THE COPS!

Cops are not workers. Drive them out of the unions!
troll: you're just jealous because it's going so well... hehe
10 May 2007
security guards=night guards of buildings
University police=cops
guards of buildings=workers
Super Dogmatic Trotskyite Nutters
10 May 2007
Modified: 09:00:54 AM
Most comments against the Harvard security guards (calling them cop etc.) are by a member of an ultra sectarian and dogmatic Trotskyite group in Rhode Island, a group with about 2 members including indymedia trolls. Though I hear, amazingly, the group has had a split recently. Anyway keep up the great work with the campaign and ignore the crazy comments and lack of solidarity for the sects.
AlliedBarton Security = U.S. Troops
10 May 2007
Reviewing the testimony of Mr. Keane and three other former generals on January 18 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, there is a distinct pattern. Those most involved in the military industry, Mr. Keane and former four-star army general Barry McCaffery, endorsed, respectively, escalation and continued investment in the Iraq War. ...

Mr. Keane is also on the board of AlliedBarton Security, which provides security guards and other services for government and industry and is IS A SIGNIFICANT EMPLOYER OF EX- MILITARY PEOPLE.

Mr. Keane is also a senior advisor to Kholberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co. (KKR), a multi-billion dollar investment and management company with a portfolio of companies involved in semiconductors, communications software, waste disposal, advertising and various media; Sealy mattresses, ToysRUs and AC Nielsen are among its holdings.

http://dissidentnews.wordpress.com/2007/02/05/former-generals-who-want-t/