The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

Op-ed: Student groups support HOWL

HOWL joins to march with Boston’s Local 26 in front of the Prudential Center on Huntington Avenue.

As dining hall workers launch their campaign for $35,000 minimum annual incomes and affordable health care, Huskies Organizing With Labor (HOWL) is building a coalition of student groups to support a just contract for these workers, who make up a vital part of the Northeastern community.

In 2012, 45 student groups joined HOWL and lent their support to the dining hall workers’ successful unionization. HOWL has been rebuilding over the last five months in preparation for contract renegotiations, and 23 organizations have signed on so far. Here are some of our coalition members’ reasons for supporting this campaign:


Behind the SMILE

Behind the SMILE is a proud member of the HOWL coalition because we recognize the ways in which labor justice and mental health advocacy are intertwined. Northeastern’s dining hall workers deserve access to more affordable health care including adequate mental health care, which we believe everyone is entitled to. We also recognize that these workers are not paid a living wage, which can cause major stress and have a devastating toll on one’s mental health. Dining hall workers are an integral part of our campus community and deserve to be treated as such.

Girls’ LEAP (Lifetime Empowerment & Awareness Program)

Girls’ LEAP stands for equality and justice for all people, and we stand with dining hall workers in their efforts to secure a livable wage, affordable health care, immigration protections, and above all, a respectful and considerate work environment free from all forms of abuse. These are basic human rights that all people deserve and are entitled to, and we will work with and support Northeastern dining hall workers, UNITE HERE! Local 26 and HOWL until these rights are granted to all members of our community.

National Lawyers Guild NUSL Campus Chapter

The Northeastern University School of Law (NUSL) National Lawyers Guild campus chapter stands with Northeastern dining service workers because dignity in the workplace is a human right. We believe that an institution as wealthy and powerful as Northeastern University has a moral, social and political obligation to ensure that all of its workers are treated with respect, earn a livable wage and are able to access affordable health care. This obligation is especially important in this moment, when workers’ rights are under attack from all sides.

Northeastern School of Law Employment and Labor Law Association (NELLA)

The Northeastern School of Law Employment and Labor Law Association stands in solidarity with the dining service workers at Northeastern University and UNITE HERE! Local 26. The students of NELLA believe that the law should be used to protect the rights of people in their workplaces, and we have actively supported past organizing efforts on campus. Dining service workers, like all workers, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. No one should struggle to survive on poverty wages, and there will be no justice in the halls of Northeastern University until all workers on campus are afforded a living income. We are especially disappointed that the university has sought to hide behind a subcontracting relationship. While the university’s legal responsibilities to the people who feed its students may be clouded, its moral responsibility could not be more clear. We demand that our university provide the necessary resources to the subcontractors it hires so that the people who feed us can afford to feed themselves and their families.

Northeastern University Sexual Health Advocacy, Resources and Education (NU SHARE)

The working conditions in Northeastern’s dining halls are issues concerning reproductive justice. Northeastern’s oppression of workers denies them power and resources to make decisions for themselves, their families and their communities. When workers cannot feed their families because of unlivable wages or take care of their children because of unnecessary schedule changes, their reproductive lives are directly implicated. We will not stand for such injustices: Change must occur at an institutional level to end this oppression.

Progressive Student Alliance (PSA)

As a local chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops, we actively support workers fighting for better lives and working conditions, whether in sweatshops abroad or on our campus. If our university can afford a seven-figure salary for our president, then we can afford a living wage and ethical treatment for our dining service workers. PSA has been a part of numerous campaigns for campus worker justice, including the dining hall workers’ unionization five years ago. We look forward to a future where Northeastern puts people over profits.

Students Against Institutional Discrimination (SAID)

As a large urban university, Northeastern significantly impacts more lives than simply those of its students. We, Northeastern Students Against Institutional Discrimination, can’t overstate the importance of listening to, learning from and working with non-student university stakeholders. Such stakeholders are often required to make great sacrifices on behalf of the university, while their interests are deprioritized. SAID is therefore very proud to stand in solidarity with HOWL. Our food service workers are defining, invaluable members of the Northeastern community. They deserve a fair contract and they deserve to be treated with respect.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)

Northeastern SJP recognizes the interconnected nature of all struggles for justice. We oppose the oppression and exploitation of all people everywhere, whether it be in Palestine or the United States. As student groups, it is especially important that we stand against injustice taking place on our own campus. All workers deserve dignity and agency, and when the institution denying its workers these basic rights is a university supposedly committed to upholding values of justice and equality, the hypocrisy cannot go unchallenged. We stand in solidarity with all our allies fighting for economic and social justice here on campus, and we will keep fighting until Northeastern truly lives up to the values it claims to support.

If you are in a group interested in joining the coalition, or if you have any questions, please contact [email protected]. The following Northeastern student organizations make up the HOWL coalition:

Acting Out
Behind the SMILE
Feminist Student Organization
Girls’ LEAP
Latin American Student Organization
Men’s Club Volleyball
National Lawyers Guild – NUSL Chapter
Northeastern Black Student Association
Northeastern Club Running
Northeastern Debate Society
Northeastern School of Law Employment and Labor Law Association
Northeastern University College Democrats
Northeastern University Unitarian Universalists
NU SHARE (Sexual Health Advocacy, Resources & Education)
Progressive Student Alliance
Resident Student Association
Sexual Assault Response Coalition
Socialist Students
Students Against Institutional Discrimination
Students for Justice in Palestine
Women’s Club Volleyball

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