A fair wage is a very simple requirement. Every union fights to ensure that workers are paid fairly, but behind our demand lies a whole series of inequalities that are aggravated by pay inequalities. International students have been hit hard during COVID-19; they lost access to the campus jobs they worked for to stay afloat.
Many graduate students have second and third jobs in Cambridge, working in cafes, tutoring students, or whatever they can get their hands on. And it was all gone [during the pandemic]. The worst impact has been borne by people who are not allowed to work elsewhere in the United States as well as by people who do not have time to do extra work during COVID, once their children were home all the time. the weather.
This is what we saw in our bargaining survey. When people filled it out, they could identify the priorities that mattered most to them. The form also had a comments section, where they could write more about these priorities. Over 90 percent of people used the comments section. They have told heartbreaking stories of not being able to make rent, suffering from COVID and COVID for a long time, living paycheck to paycheck and losing other jobs.
Fair wages are late. I don’t understand how a job based at Harvard University pays less than $ 40,000 a year. I often do this math: the rent in Cambridge is $ 2,000 a month, or $ 24,000 a year, and child care in Cambridge is about $ 2,000 a month. You are already at $ 48,000 in spending. It’s a question of survival.
Another of our main demands is union security. In our proposals, we asked all student workers to contribute financially to the union, pooling resources for the union which obtains increases and real remedies from everyone.
Not only has Harvard opposed it and refused to engage with it at the table, but it has also misleadingly and alarmistically misrepresented it to all students, claiming that HGSU wants to force them to pay fees. fines or going against their beliefs. . They are far-right union security cadres on a campus where all other unions enjoy union security.
I think Harvard administrators know the long term cost of union security to them. This is going to be quite high, as workers in unions with union security earn about $ 1,500 more per year over the course of their careers.