EDITORIAL: Students need to stand with Sodexo workers

Jacob L'Hommedieu, Op/Ed Editor

Loyola’s tax return revealed that the university paid Sodexo $8,432,021 in 2019 for their services. While the lump sum is for more than paying its employees, Sodexo is paying only $13.75 per hour for some people who have held their jobs at Loyola for more than 20 years. 

People who work for Sodexo on campus deserve better for all they do, and we should be the ones who help them. 

Earlier this semester, a small group of Sodexo workers made their efforts to unionize public, and now is our chance to support them. The unionization came about in order to advocate for better wages and working hours. 

The history of unionization in the United States is one of class conflict, workers’ rights, and occasional bloodshed.

While the hope is that violence will not erupt at any point, it is important to recognize history and what has been won through these efforts. Staples of life, like weekend holidays and federal minimum wages, are some of the most prominent victories afforded to us by those who fought for unionization in the past. 

A student advocacy group already helped spread the news by handing out stickers to show support for the union’s efforts, but more can always be done. In fact, more should be done.

So, what can us students do to help the Sodexo workers in their efforts to unionize? For starters, we need to be loud. Unionizing is a process that has always faced hardship, with extreme examples being seen in large corporations like Walmart, Amazon, and Tesla. But if we, the people who actually benefit from the service of the Sodexo workers, make it clear that we are in support of the union, change could really happen – sooner than later. 

We could also help by petitioning Loyola to side with those who work for Sodexo. If Loyola were to put in a good word for the rights of the workers to unionize, then there would be an even greater chance that we could help bring about this important change. 

That being said, students have said they’ve been discouraged from supporting the union and told that it is not a student issue, but rather a workers’ one and that therefore, we shouldn’t do anything. 

But if we don’t do anything, we would be contributing to ignoring the voices of thousands of workers who have fought the same fight and came out the other side with even less rights than before. 

None of our efforts are guaranteed to work out for the better. 

But wouldn’t it be better to fight? To stand tall and strive for something more? Because that’s what it means to be people for others, as the Jesuits say. To give and not to count the costs and to fight and not to heed the wounds. Yes, there’s a chance of coming up short, but to simply do nothing because of that chance would be more of a waste than to put forth effort in the first place. 

It’s time to throw our hats in the ring to help the people who have done so much for us.