Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Lenny Glynn

WSA 1-Day Cafeteria Boycott Termed ’Fairly Successful’

First Published: Columbia Daily Spectator, Volume CXIV, Number 31, 10 November 1969.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Approximately twenty members of the Worker-Student Alliance faction of Students for a Democratic Society picketed the John Jay Cafeteria last Thursday in a boycott protest against working conditions in the dining hall and to support complaints raised by the cafeteria workers.

Among the workers’ grievances are the irregular work schedule of the dining hall and the short Notice of future work schedules and the imprompt payment of wages.

A WSA spokesman termed the boycott “fairly successful.” Thomas Devany, director of operations at John Jay for Service Systems Inc. which operates the cafeteria for the university, stated that the boycott was “effective enough, so that if it were kept up we would have to cut back on labor.”

At 12:30 p.m. there were approximately 40 people in the dining hall which holds roughly 250 persons. At 7:00 p.m. there were only 35 diners in the cafeteria.

During the noon picketing a brief scuffle broke out when Edward Bragg, Manhattan area director of > Local 1199 of the Drug and Hospital Workers Union, which represents the cafeteria workers, rebuked the protestors for “trying to determine the lives of workers.”

Mr. Bragg threw a punch at one of the pickets, but both he and the student were restrained. Mr. Bragg addressed the cafeteria workers in an emergency meeting in the dining hall, and told them that complaints like the ones SDS was using would betaken up by the Local’s grievance committee.

He said that workers do not need the “support of students that go out of here and make $15,000 a year and forget about the workers.”

Mr. Devany denied most of the charges and stated that “we are as aware of the problems as SDS and we are trying to remedy them, but they are making more out of them than they are worth.”