January 1, 2015
By Stephanie West
In October Sodexo workers at three different campuses joined UNITE HERE! On October 7th, over 100 dining workers at Emerson College in Boston joined Boston’s Local 26. On October 15th, 70 workers at Curry College in Massachusetts voted to join the New England Joint Board, and on October 30th, 60 Sodexo workers at Earlham College in Indiana voted to join Local 23.
Donna Papastavrou, a baker at Emerson, summed it up: “The work we do to feed the campus helps make Emerson strong. Our victory now makes us strong too. My coworkers and I are proud to be part of this community and to have stood together to win respect and a voice on the job. We now have the dignity we deserve.”
At Curry College Professor Patty Kean noted that “the Sodexo workers on campus are a vibrant and important member group of our community. They provide the kitchen, dining room, and living room hospitality for our students. Their smiles and hellos cheer our students; their relationships provide them with a sense of care and stability outside the classroom. They work as hard as any of us on campus.”
Following Sodexo workers at Earlham College joining UNITE HERE!, Todd Reda, a cook at Earlham, said that “for us at Earlham to stand up and take action has been a life-changing experience. This long, difficult campaign and the victories we’ve achieved have united us as a union of co-workers and friends forever.”