“March” of victory from coast-to-coast!

March isn’t yet over, but it’s already clear that we can label it a “month of victories” for campus dining hall workers! After months of organizing and determination, workers on three campuses on both the East and West coasts won union recognition, and each of these institutions joins an ever-growing union family.  Additionally, they have become part of an increasingly powerful movement working towards a food system in which fresh, healthy food is prepared by workers guaranteed, among other things, fair wages that make sustainable food accessible to them, as well. Here are the highlights:

Lesley University
Cambridge, Mass.

“In Haiti, we say ‘L’Union fair la force’ — stick together, and you’ve got power.” — cook Andre Lucas

Just one day after presenting a petition signed by hundreds of students, faculty members, staff and alumni to university management, Lesley’s 79 dishwashers, servers, cashiers and cooks won their union recognition. They join a growing movement of food workers across the Boston area.

St. Mary’s College of California
Moraga, Calif.

“The workers are proof that it is necessary to stand up for ourselves, that we are stronger when we are united, and that nothing is impossible.” — student Ariana Alvarez

Food workers at St. Mary’s College serve on-campus meals to both students and Lasallian Christian brothers, and counted on the support of both these groups — along with professors, alumni, clergy and community allies — during their organizing campaign. The workers’ victory stands in line with the college’s Lasallian Catholic mission, which includes a commitment to social justice and respect for all persons.

University of La Verne
La Verne, Calif.

“Words cannot describe the tremendous amounts of joy and sense of victory we feel – this is only the beginning of a new and prosperous year, and it’s now only going to get better. ¡Si se pudo!” — cook Eddie Briones

Late last year, we profiled workers at La Verne, who were standing up to create their own sustainable future. Organizing with a vision of a campus food program that would allow them to serve healthy, good food prepared from scratch, workers united with the support of both faculty and students. In the words of cook Prince Jones, workers feel they now have “a fighting chance at a future.”

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