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Food contract controversy ends with happy resolution

Sodexo promises all wages and benefits from previous food contract for all 174 cafeteria workers

After a long-fought battle, workers with UNITE HERE Local 40 finally gain the job security for which they have been fighting.
After a long-fought battle, workers with UNITE HERE Local 40 finally gain the job security for which they have been fighting.
Image Credits: Alexa Tarrayo

The cafeteria workers who previously feared for their job security have reached an agreement with SFU’s new food services contract, Sodexo.

This agreement confirms that all 174 workers will receive all of their health care and pension benefits, seniority, and wages that they received from their past contract with Chartwells, a division of Compass Group Canada.

In a press release from UNITE HERE Local 40, cafeteria worker Bruna Padularosa, who has worked at SFU for 29 years, explained, “We are happy that we resolved our main concerns with Sodexo — that our jobs are safe and our union will be recognized. Now, we look forward to working on our contract.”

This agreement comes after both students and faculty got involved to ensure that cafeteria workers received their benefits and wages while SFU solidified a new contract.

As The Peak previously reported, roughly 100 cafeteria workers and students rallied in a march asking SFU to guarantee that all cafeteria workers jobs be renewed with the upcoming contract. This call to the SFU administration was also met with a petition that was signed by roughly 2,000 members of the SFU community.

Throughout the ordeal, students, faculty, cafeteria workers, and the union UNITE HERE Local 40, called to protect the cafeteria workers’ jobs. SFU assured a new contract with a new food service provider would be made on the basis of providing the same wages and benefits to all cafeteria workers.

Bill Keith, vice-president operations for Sodexo said that the “[bidding process] was a very competitive RFP. It’s one of the premier universities in Canada.”

“It’s an exciting opportunity for us, we’ve always wanted to be at SFU. We thought we lined up really well from a vision perspective, and we’ve got a really good local team here, so we thought we’d fit really well in the community,” said Keith.

They also explained what they hoped for the future of food services at SFU: “We’re looking at this as a culinary transformation, rethinking food. First of all, there is a world of opportunity here, we’re looking at potentially bringing in some celebrity chefs, some brand new, first-in-Canada concepts.”

Keith also assured that Sodexo values all SFU cafeteria employees. “We know they are part of the community, we know they are part of the past of food service providers’ success, and we also know how important they are going to be for our future success. So I can’t emphasize that enough that there is a lot of misinformation. We are hiring all the employees.”

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