Burnaby, BC – SFU dining hall workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, have reached an agreement with incoming food service contractor, Sodexo. The agreement reached Thursday night means that all 174 dining hall workers will be rehired, with their seniority and wages intact. Sodexo also agrees to offer equivalent health care and pension benefits to what workers currently hold. The agreement also ensures the workers’ union will be voluntarily recognized by the company on May 1.
“We are happy that we resolved our main concerns with Sodexho – that our jobs are safe and our union will be recognized. Now, we look forward to working on our contract,” said Bruna Padularosa, a deli worker in Mackenzie Cafe who has worked at SFU for 29 years.
The agreement comes after weeks of actions held by workers and students demanding that SFU and Sodexo rehire all workers and recognize their years of service. Dining hall workers received an outpouring of support from students, faculty and campus staff in the fight to retain their jobs.
“Cafeteria workers at SFU just won the first round of their fight. They have shown the SFU Administration that vague promises aren’t good enough. More than that, they have taught the rest of us how to organize–and just how much power we have when we do,” said George Temple, a PhD student and member of TSSU.
“From the beginning, we have said that the only acceptable transition is one in which SFU and the new contractor not only commit to hiring the existing workers, but to recognize their years of service, and keep their health care and other benefits,” said Robert Demand, President of UNITE HERE Local 40. “This agreement puts us on a positive path with Sodexo,” said Demand.
The dining services contract was recently awarded to Sodexo. Sodexo will be replacing current food vendor, Chartwells, on May 1.
While dining hall workers were resolving issues with Sodexo, they voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike in response to Chartwells’ failure to fairly compensate workers over the last school year. The issue must be resolved before Chartwells leaves on April 30. The workers’ contract expired last August.