SFU Workers Hold Protest: “Don’t we Deserve a Living Wage too?”

Burnaby, BC — Today, food service workers at SFU and community allies demonstrated on campus to urge Chartwells, a dining services contractor, to pay them a living wage as they resume contract bargaining. Just three weeks earlier, 160 food services workers wore red “Living Wage NOW!” buttons on their uniforms. With inflation soaring across the lower mainland and the impact of Covid reducing hours of work and instigating safety concerns, SFU food service workers are fighting for a living wage, safer workloads, and the same benefits as direct SFU employees.

“I’ve worked at SFU for almost two decades but I’m making $17.50 an hour, it’s ridiculous. I feel like we are being treated as if we’re second-class citizens. Food service workers help keep the campus running. We’re the ones who feed the students, professors, and larger community every day. We need a living wage now!” said Nouha Ishaq, a food service worker who worked at SFU for 17 years.

“The City of Burnaby has been certified as a Living Wage Employer and SFU is one of the largest employers in Burnaby, yet people who work there can’t even pay their bills. It’s time that Chartwells and the university take responsibility to ensure that food service workers on campus get a living wage,” said Jade Ho, a PhD student at SFU and Contract Worker Justice coalition member.

Workers have been bargaining with the company over the past several weeks. However Chartwells’ proposal is still far short of the living wage. The workers and the company are discussing future negotiations and planning to get back to the bargaining table next week.

For more information, please contact: Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected], or Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785, [email protected]

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UNITE HERE Local 40 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents members in the hotel, food service and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.