Graduate Student Council Passes DoubleTree Resolution

The Graduate Student Council unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday evening pledging to support workers at the DoubleeTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Boston if they decide to call for a boycott of the hotel, which is housed in a University-owned building in Allston.

The resolution, which is nearly identical to one passed by the Undergraduate Council earlier this week, calls upon the graduate body to urge relevant Harvard administrators to support fair process as workers decide whether or not to unionize.

According to Gabriel H. Bayard ’15, a member of the Student Labor Action Movement who spoke at the regularly scheduled GSC meeting Wednesday evening, some DoubleTree workers plan on asking potential patrons to boycott the hotel on March 27.

“I think the resolution itself was well composed, completely sound, and reasonable,” said Summer A. Shafer, president of the Graduate Student Council.

Bayard said that he was “ecstatic” at the outcome of the vote.

“We think this symbolizes that the Harvard community is behind [the Student Labor Action Movement],” he said.

SLAM’s next step is to solicit support from more student groups, according to member Zoe A. Onion. A SLAM press release Wednesday said that the GSC joins 16 other student groups in endorsing the DoubleTree workers’ demands.

The group said it plans to meet with Harvard Labor Relations Director Bill Murphy within the next month to discuss the matter.

After the resolution passed, Shafer applauded the council for its action.

“I think everyone in this room should pat themselves on the back,” Shafer said to a crowd of more than 70 people.

The resolution was presented to the council after a speech by DoubleTree worker Sandra Hernandez, who discussed her personal financial situation with those in attendance.

Hernandez, who spoke to the group with the aid of a translator, described her own inability to afford healthcare for members of her family on her current salary. She said she has worked at the hotel for 22 years.

“I think having a worker present made it a living, breathing issue and not an abstract intellectual exercise,” said Shafer, who teared up while reading the resolution aloud. “It affected me very personally and deeply because what they’re doing is incredibly brave and what they’re facing is incredibly harsh.”

The meeting also featured a number of smaller discussion items, including the formation of an ad hoc committee on Dudley Cafe and the approval of funding for graduate student groups.

—Staff writer Dev A. Patel can be reached at dev.patel@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @dev_a_patel.

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