Monday, May 14th, 2018
Greetings from The Occupied New School Cafeteria. The struggle for fair, safe and equitable conditions for workers at the university, and in our communities continues.
The occupation of the New School cafeteria continues into its fourteenth day of continuous occupation on the second floor of the New School University Center. On May 10, UniteHERE 100 and the New School administration signed an agreement establishing the conditions of future bargaining, and promising the cafeteria workers employment with the New School when their current contract ends. While the cafeteria workers consented to this agreement, and although it does address critical matters for which they are bargaining, this is not the contract that the workers demanded. The agreement covers the time between the expiring Chartwells contract and another contract—yet to be drafted or signed by the cafeteria workers—with The New School. This process shifts power back to the administration and UniteHERE representatives, and the agreement leaves cafeteria workers vulnerable.
Two critical demands of cafeteria workers have yet to be acknowledged. These include the removal of Executive Chef Brian DuHart, and the formation of a structure that gives management of the cafeteria to the workers and students in a collective model proposed by both.
Students and workers are united in their demand that Brian DuHart be removed from the New School cafeteria. Multiple workers have reported that Executive Chef DuHart has sexually harassed his employees, and this must not be tolerated. We extend our support to those persons affected and suggest that anyone with similar concerns about DuHart reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with your experience. No staff, administrator or student should be exposed to harassment in the workplace and we express dismay that this matter remains unaddressed by the administration. We were told that DuHart was transferred to The New School from his previous place of work following allegations of sexual harassment, and as of this writing The New School has yet to launch an official investigation—rather, they have offered DuHart a raise of $20,000.
We have reports that DuHart uses chicken stock and bacon grease in food labeled vegetarian and vegan. Such practices are unethical, dangerous, and demonstrate a blatant disregard for those who avoid such products from religious or moral conviction, or for reasons of allergies and other health concerns.
Models for democratic workplace organizing with community accountability exist. The New School has been the site of foundational research into workplace democracy, such as that conducted by New School professor Richard Wolff, and this is the perfect site for such innovation.
We call on The New School to create conditions of respect, safety and sustainability in the cafeteria, and across the university. We demand that the administration investigate the allegations against Chef Brian DuHart, and move forward with the creation of a new, democratic structure for the operation of the cafeteria. A major step in this process will be a conversation between workers, the New School community, and Professor Richard Wolff that will take place Monday, May 14th, at 5:00 pm in the occupied cafeteria. All are welcome.
Until these reasonable and necessary demands are met, we remain: occupying the cafeteria, serving meals to our community, and working collectively to re-organize the space into one that reflects the spirit of the University in Exile—a history that administrators freely advertise, and consistently undercut.