Tufts dining hall workers join UNITE HERE Local 26, demand recognition

500 students march with workers to demand university recognize union

BOSTON, MA—Surrounded by hundreds of students, Tufts dining hall workers announced they have formed a union. Together, they called on President Anthony Monaco to recognize the union.

Once recognized, Tufts Dining Services workers will become members of the union that successfully struck Harvard for 22 days in 2016 and narrowly averted a strike at Northeastern in 2017. In both cases, workers won celebrated agreements that significantly improved job security, income and respect for campus workers.

“I have been working at Tufts for 29 years, but I still don’t feel heard,” said Immacula Desroses. “I know how to do my job. I want to be treated like a human being. I decided I couldn’t wait any longer.”

“After 14 years at Tufts, this year I got a 19-cent raise,” said dining hall worker, Grazia Difabio. Grazia lost her house and now lives with her daughter and son and is often unable to take care of her grandchildren because of her constantly changing schedule. “We work so hard to keep our students happy. I’m thankful that they are looking out for us.”

43 student groups have joined a coalition backing the food service worker’s union.

“My mother worked a service job for most of her life. I saw her struggle,” said Edwin Jain, student worker and Computer Science Junior at Tufts University. “She always wished there was someone who would stand by her. I am proud to support my friends and coworkers. Tufts students are prepared to back workers until we win.”

“The bonds between workers and students cannot be broken,” said Second Year majoring in Philosophy at Tufts, Kayleigh Milano. “We both want what’s best for each other. It’s time for Tufts to listen and recognize the union.”

“We are proud that Tufts University dining hall workers have chosen to join Local 26,” said UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang. “Along with dining hall workers from a majority of Boston area campuses including Harvard, MIT and Northeastern University, we welcome them into our Union.  We call on Tufts Administration to recognize the workers union and to immediately sit down to address the dining hall workers’ concerns.”


UNITE HERE Local 26 represents nearly 10,000 members working in the hotel, food service, and airport industries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. 


For Immediate Release: April 3, 2018

Contact: Nicki Morris, nmorris@local26.org, 203-297-1681

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