Faculty pressures SFU on behalf of food service workers

Breakfast served at an SFU eatery in 2012. Photo by Ruocaled on Flickr

SFU’s faculty association is voicing support for the 160 food service workers whose contracts were terminated earlier this year, jobs they say are some of the most poorly paid on campus.

Food service workers are currently employed by Chartwells, but the university gave the contract to food service provider Sodexo Canada at the end of February. Union representatives said the workers’ existing contracts will not be carried over now that they are employed by Sodexo, despite protests and petitions on campus since January.

The faculty association said they have been pressuring the university on behalf of the food service workers.

“These workers are among the most poorly paid on the SFU campus, many earning well below the recognized living wage,” the faculty association said in a statement on their website.

Workers want their benefits to carry over to new contracts

Octavian Cadabeschi, UNITE HERE Local 40 representative, said the union was negotiating with Chartwells when they found out the university was looking at other bids for their food service provider. Since then the university has promised the new jobs will have the same wages, but the union has other concerns.

“They’re saying that they’ll make a job offer to workers, but they’re not saying they will respect the existing contract, which then puts workers health benefits in jeopardy, workers who’ve been there as long as 27 years,” Cadabeschi said. “There’s no guarantee that everyone will move over smoothly from working from [Chartwells]  to working to Sodexo because they’re not automatically bringing people over.”

There will be more protests to come in the near future

Workers held protests in January before the university signed with Sodexo, but those protests will not be the last, said Cadabeschi.

“Were’ not going to go as a protest, we’re going to go respectfully to make our point,” Cadabeschi said,“[but] in terms of actually marching around with signs, there will be more of that [in the future].”

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