By ED FINKELSTEIN
Clayton, MO – Food services workers at Washington University, by a 54 percent vote, have approved their first union contract as members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655, President David Cook announced.
The some 300 employees of Bon Appetit provide food services to the staff, faculty and students at Washington University had voted to join Local 655 earlier this year.
The new union members will see raises ranging from 11-14 percent over the life of the three-year contract, additional vacation days, more funeral leave, guaranteed ‘show-up’ pay, improvements to overtime rules, as well as having access to high-quality healthcare and retirement packages.
“This is why we voted to form a union,” said Gilbert Grigsby, an employee at Bon Appetit who also served on the bargaining committee. “We wanted better pay and working conditions that we’ve worked hard for, and this contract is the result of a lot of hard work. I’m thrilled to be joining this union with this new contract.”
The new contract was effective Nov. 22.
UNIONS MAKING A DIFFERENCE
“This is why unions are so important,” said Cook. “We’re making a tangible difference in the lives of these people and their families. This is the union difference. Better pay, better working conditions, better benefits. It means a better life.”
UFCW Local 655 is the largest private-sector labor union in Missouri, covering much of the eastern half of the state. They represent more than 10,000 members working primarily in the grocery store industry. They also represent workers in a number of food processing facilities.