Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Day 7 updates


Contact: Austin Guest (831-917-6400), Lucy MacKinnon (347-517-1885)

Harvard Stand for Security Coalition ||


Inter-Faith Community Leaders Bless Fasters as Hundreds March

One-hundred-fifty students, workers, and community members came to Harvard Yard today to protest the Harvard administration’s lack of response to student demands for higher wages and better working conditions for security guards. The group marched in solidarity with the Harvard hunger strikers to Loeb House. Ten security guards from the SEIU bargaining committee spoke to demonstrators, encouraging them and thanking them for their support.
The protest then marched to the steps of the Unitarian Universalist Church, where collective bargaining continued between SEIU and AlliedBarton. Protestors chanted: “When we fight, we win!” and “Hey Allied you’ve got cash. Why do you pay your workers trash?” The university is continuing to refuse to intervene in ongoing collective bargaining negotiations between security guards and subcontracting group AlliedBarton.

Protestors also sent support to Javier Castro, the hunger striker hospitalized Monday night for dangerously low sodium levels. Under advice from physicians, Javier ended his hunger strike in the hours after the protest. Shortly after he was released from Harvard's Stillman infirmary, where he had been transfered from Mt. Auburn Hospital.

A second hunger striker, Matthew Opitz, was also hospitalized this afternoon, under conditions similar to Castro’s. Opitz’s sodium levels were found to be dangerously low after a routine blood test at Mt. Auburn Hospital at at 2pm. Opitz was admitted to the hospital and placed on intravenous saline solution. He was released at 5:30pm this evening after his sodium levels recovered and is continuing with the hunger strike.

The Massachusetts Inter-Faith Coalition brought a delegation of about a dozen religious leaders from the Boston area to bless the fasters after the march. The inter-faith leaders said a prayer for the fasters before delivering a letter to President Bok, expressing their support for the security guards and fasting students.