Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Katherine Clark join Harvard Graduate Students on strike at Harvard University. (Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ NewsRadio)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — As the Harvard Graduate Student strike moved into its sixth day Monday, picketing students were joined by Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Katherine Clark.
The Massachusetts congresswomen stood in solidarity with students striking for better pay, comprehensive health insurance, and protections from discrimination, sexual assault, and harassment.
Striking students are asking for a minimum pay of $25 per hour. The school says it has offered proposals that are responsive to the students' concerns.
"We're just calling on this august institution, who has made historic and global contributions, to confirm the values they espouse, that they have instilled in so many world leaders, and that is just to prioritize people over profit," Rep. Pressley told WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe.
Standing with dozens of picketers in the rain, Rep. Clark said the striking grad students, who serve as teacher assistants, tutors, and researchers, deserve a livable wage.
"The longer this goes on, the more obvious it's going to be that these students are really the lifeblood of this university," she said.
Pressley told the students it's frustrating and demoralizing to feel like your contributions are not being appreciated by your employer.
"I was a hotel worker for six years," she said. "I know what it is to do the work that people look over you and look through you, render you as an invisible work force. That's why it's so important that we continue to be vigilant and united, to make sure that this is not a workforce that is rendered invisible."
Clark said it was an issue of fundamental fairness.
"This is not greedy, this is not demanding anything that doesn't help these graduate students help this university," she said.
Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern also showed up to support the strike.
Sen. Ed Markey tweeted in support of the strikers Monday, saying he was proud of those participating.