Today, student workers employed by Bon Appétit at Wesleyan’s dining facilities publicly launched our union drive, rallying outside Usdan alongside supporters and the already unionized food service workers. We are unionizing because we have faced on-the-job issues including low pay, poor workplace communication, discriminatory treatment, overwork, and scheduling issues.
“Management at Pi Café often treats me disrespectfully, and because of the low pay, I work every day of the week at four different jobs just to get by,” said Brianna Johnson ’24. “I don’t have enough time or emotional energy for classes and extra-curriculars. This makes me feel that Wesleyan sees me only as a Black worker who must prove my worth at a primarily white institution, not as a student who truly belongs here. If Wesleyan cares about diversity and inclusion, it must urge Bon Appétit to treat food service workers with respect and not interfere with our decision to unionize.”
We are joined by members of UNITE HERE Local 217, the union representing the full-time workers employed by Bon Appétit on campus.
“I’m thrilled to see student dining workers launch their campaign to unionize,” said Jennifer Spada, a 30-year employee at Usdan. “My union pay and benefits allowed me to raise my kids knowing they’d be safe: we always had food and a home, and I was able to send my daughter to college working only one job. When I look at the student workers, I see my kids, and I want them to have the same security and dignity that my family and I did. I’m with you all the way!”
We call on Bon Appétit and Wesleyan University to continue their tradition of labor peace on campus by remaining neutral and respecting our rights to democratically decide to unionize. Last year, the University chose to voluntarily recognize WesUSE, the union representing residential life student employees. Last June, Bon Appétit settled a historic contract with UNITE HERE Local 217 that included the second-best wages at a college food service on the East Coast, a healthcare plan with no employee premiums, and a pension.
“Because of the low pay at Bon Appétit, I work five jobs on campus to pay my student contribution,” said Lily Krug ’24. “I’ve seen the union contract won by the members of Local 217, and I’m excited to join the workers who have fought for years to win such a life-changing standard. I hope Wesleyan and Bon Appétit decide to continue their tradition of labor peace and respect our right to democratically decide to form a union.”
We’re excited to go public and bring our campaign to campus. If you are a student worker at Bon Appétit, please come sign a union card! We will be tabling at Usdan from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM on 4/5, 4/6, 4/7, 4/8, and 4/9. We will be at Exley from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM on 4/4, 4/6, and 4/7. Lastly, we will also be at Usdan from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM on 4/4, 4/5, 4/6, 4/7, 4/8, and 4/9.
If you can’t make any of those times and want to sign a union card or if you have any questions, please reach out to Lily Krug by email at email@example.com or by phone number at 917-454-8978.