Sodexo workers reach majority to unionize


Courtesy of UNITE HERE! Local 23

Kloe Witt and Aron Boehle

Loyola’s Sodexo employees have won the petition to move forward with their unionization after almost a year-long struggle, according to a union representative at the labor spring event held on campus.

Although union organizers have secured the majority necessary to unionize, they are working to get more signatures to secure a larger mandate and increase their leverage during negotiations. By April 28, the union’s cards will be counted, and the union will be instated, allowing the workers to collectively bargain with Sodexo.

Samantha Henry, a Loyola Dining employee, said she is eager for the union to be instated.

“I’m excited. I’m ecstatic,” Henry said.

Henry said she is hoping to use the collective bargaining that a union provides to get better benefits and better pay.

“We don’t receive any benefits when school is closed for the summer,” Henry said. “As far as pay, we’re doing a lot of work with no pay.”

Additionally, Henry said she’s hoping to see a better workplace environment.

“And maybe they’ll just respect you a little bit more,” she said. “I just believe that we need to be treated more fairly.”

Charles Casrill, general manager of Loyola-Sodexo, said that Sodexo respects their workers’ rights to unionize.

“Sodexo respects the rights of our employees to unionize or not to unionize,” he said.

But workers have said that Sodexo has used tactics to limit unionization efforts. For example, Sodexo’s operations director Robert Heidingsfelder posted a Maroon article about the union on his door which workers said was an effort to intimidate the workers and organizers who discussed unionization efforts and met with the newspaper.

Nonetheless, Sodexo employees like Henry remain hopeful for the future now that the workplace has voted to approve unionization.

“I’ll be really looking forward to the next school year and seeing what happens,” Henry said.

Throughout the unionization process, the employees said they have felt supported by Loyola students and faculty through their efforts, showing solidarity with stickers and raising awareness on social media. Henry said this support has fueled her to keep fighting for a union.

“They make me want to get it more for myself,” Henry said.

After the counting of union cards on April 28, Henry hopes to bring the community together for a celebration of overcoming this hurdle.

“I hope we can have a party,” she said. “Throw up some confetti, announce it, and everybody just be happy that we have crossed one part of this little milestone here.”