Nine striking dining hall workers at the world's richest university were arrested Friday after holding a sit-in to demand better wages and health benefits. The workers—who are among 750 food service workers on strike at Harvard—were arrested alongside two union officials after blocking the streets of Harvard Square, the Boston Globe reports. The arrested workers, all women, were charged with disorderly conduct and will appear in court Monday, when more protests are planned, reports the Harvard Crimson. The workers say health care costs have become unaffordable, especially since many of them only work eight months a year, when all the dining halls are open.
Student supporters of the strike were kicked out of a joint reunion event for the classes of 1971, 1976, and 1986 Friday after chanting pro-strike slogans, the Crimson reports. The Guardian notes that Harvard, which has an endowment of $37.6 billion, recently announced a $10 million study on poverty, and the irony is not lost on alumni, around 1,000 of whom have pledged to withhold gifts until the workers get a fair contract. One of the cooks tells the paper that she "thought getting a job at Harvard meant I wouldn't struggle anymore." But last summer, she says, "I had to borrow money to buy diapers for my daughter." (Before the strike began earlier this month, students stockpiled food.)