Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Sodexo continues union negotiations

Liz Snow
Photo illistration

Amidst cooking, dinner rushes, and cleaning, Loyola’s Sodexo workers are continuing their negotiations with Sodexo following the establishment of their union last May after reaching the petition majority.

In November of 2022, Loyola’s Sodexo employees moved to unionize as working conditions and staffing decreased, frustrations increased, and pay remained stagnant. The following April, workers received a marginal raise, which reinforced grievances.

Discussions between employees and the company have been underway since May to transform the work environment for Sodexo employees. This unionization marked a significant moment for the workers.

Past developments have propelled negotiations focused on better wages, healthcare, insurance, and fostering a workplace atmosphere of respect and dignity, including a 3% wage increase in April,which was equivalent to around an extra 30 cents per paycheck.

Cody Melcher, an assistant professor of sociology at Loyola, highlighted the importance of workers receiving better treatment and pay for the work they do.

According to Melcher, full-time Sodexo employees at Loyola, some of whom have been working with the company for over 20 years, make just $13.75 an hour, with little to no health benefits.

Many Loyola students have stood in solidarity with Sodexo employees, who work to support the students by providing essential food services on campus. Students have expressed their support vocally through actions such as a sticker drive hosted in the previous spring to raise awareness toward the issue.

UNITE HERE is a labor union that represents working people throughout the U.S. and Canada in organizing workers to advocate to their employers for fair working conditions and pay. At Loyola they’ve played a critical role supporting the Sodexo employees during these negotiations.

Leah Bailey, a research representative with UNITE HERE, is negotiating with the company on behalf of the Loyola Sodexo employees.

“They’re sitting down with us, and we’re sitting, and we’re negotiating with them, which is what the workers really want,” Bailey said.

Sodexo’s willingness to engage in discussions and negotiate terms, despite their initial resistance, demonstrates a step forward in cultivating a workplace that values respect, dignity, and fair treatment for every employee. The employees are working towards a contract that works well for all parties, which excites them, according to Bailey, who believes negotiations are still possible.

“The union means essentially everything to workers. It’s the only way by which workers have a voice,” Melcher said.

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About the Contributor
Eloise Pickering
Eloise Pickering, Worldview Editor
Eloise Pickering is a current freshman and the Worldview editor. She is a mass communication major, and her favorite movie is Spotlight. When not doing homework or working at the Maroon, Eloise can often be found pondering philosophically in Audubon Park. She has often been dubbed “The Thinker.” Eloise can be reached at [email protected].

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