Strike averted at Northeastern, as dining hall workers ratify new contract
A strike was averted at Northeastern University after a union representing hundreds of dining hall workers reached a new contract agreement with a food vendor that was ratified on Tuesday.
The agreement includes wage increases that will bring full-time workers to $35,000 annually by 2019, and an increase in the number of full-time schedules for dining hall workers. The five-year contract includes health care plans where the employer, Chartwells, will pay 97 percent of costs, according to Unite Here Local 26 members.
The contract also “provides enhanced protections for immigrant workers, strengthened non-discrimination language including the addition of gender identity and expression, and additional sick days,” according to Unite Here Local 26.
“With the determination and leadership of the workers and students we have won an agreement that will be life-changing for our members and impactful in their communities,” said Michael Kramer, who negotiated for the union, in a statement. “It raises the standard for campus food service workers across Boston whose value and importance in the university community is often forgotten.”
Chartwells did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday night.
As part of the contract, workers will be able to use personal or vacation time if they are unable to come to work on days the state closes offices because of snow. Additionally, Chartwells is now offering workers a pension plan under the new contract, according to the union.
Northeastern welcomed the news of the agreement’s ratification on Tuesday.
“We commend the parties involved—the union and our food service vendor, Chartwells—for working over the weekend to reach an amicable agreement for Chartwells employees,” said university spokesman Matthew McDonald in a statement. “We are pleased that members of the Northeastern community, particularly our students, will not experience any disruption in dining hall service.”
Earlier this month, members of Unite Here Local 26 voted 316-2 to strike if a contract agreement with Chartwells wasn’t reached by the end of the day on Oct. 10.