On Friday, 200+ people, about 1/2 to 2/3 Harvard janitors and their family and the rest Harvard students, protested Harvard’s treatment of workers. The march began at Holyoke Center, where the crowd listened to speakers including two Harvard workers, the Vice Mayor of Cambridge Majorie Decker and City Councilor Brian Murphy, and the head of the local SEIU Union. During the speeches, a Harvard worker and a member of the Student Labor Action Movement delivered a petition with over 700 signatures to the Harvard Labor Relations Office in Holyoke Center. From the Holyoke Center, the group walked through the streets down Mass Ave to Johnston’s Gate, and then Memorial Hall, where President Summers was addressing parents here for First-year Parent’s Weekend. After hearing a few more speakers and chanting: “Harvard, escucha, estamos en la lucha” (translation: Harvard, listen, we’re in the fight), the crowd went around to the back where President Summers’ car waited for him. Apparently unwilling to face the crowd, President Summers left through another entry and his car left to meet him without him in it. More pictures, all brought to you by Seth Flaxman, can be found in the expanded post.
For supporters of Harvard workers and the Student Labor Action Movement, the rally was a stunning success. Those involved with labor efforts at Harvard described it as the largest and most energized crowd since the Living Wage Campaign of 2001.(more in expanded post)