After last week’s meetings, boycotts, arbitrations, and protests, efforts to solve problems at Usdan continue. This week, the main issue surrounds the sushi workers union status.
At the WSA meeting Sunday, Bon Appétit Residential District Manager Delmar Crim stated that sushi workers do not wish to join the union, for what he termed as “cultural” differences. While Crim may have been trying to imply that the workers have a different set of priorities, “cultural” reasoning is speculative and judgmental.
The voices of the sushi workers themselves are conspicuously absent from these debates, and should be included in discussions about their status and pay. In a University that seems to value individuality and equality, it seems absurd that the sushi workers’ are not given a platform to have their side of the issue heard.
Crim also admitted that sushi workers are paid on commission based on the number of sushi rolls sold. This makes us wonder: what will happen when the novelty of sushi wears off and students stop purchasing so much? Workers must be guaranteed a fair base salary regardless of sushi sales.
Crim has made it very clear that if sushi workers are unionized the price of sushi will raise substantially, between 2 and 2.5 points per box. Bon Appétit has already attracted a lot of criticism from students for high prices. Students must realize they we can’t have it all. While it may seem easy to compare Bon Appétit’s pricing with Aramark’s, students must remember that higher food quality, with more organic and local produce, leads to higher prices. Aramark, it seems safe to speculate, spent less money on food quality.
While lower prices are unlikely, Bon Appétit can offer more guidance for students on how to create dining point budgets. A simple spreadsheet listing the approximate amount of points that should be spent each week would be a great asset to the student population.
Regarding labor issues, an ongoing point of contention seems to rise from the fact that the current dining worker contract does not make it completely clear if workers MUST join the union to work in Usdan. This sort of discrepancy needs to be resolved immediately. Once the actual grounds it sets for University employees and their union status is established, definitive options and directions can be discussed and implemented.
We appreciate Bon Appétit for engaging in an open dialogue with the campus. However, this discussion has left many even more confused. One thing that remains apparent is that many very basic issues must be clarified.