More than 300 local food service workers employed by Bon Appetit, Washington University’s food service provider, have voted in favor of representation by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655.
Local 655 will now represent the 320 employees at Washington University in contract negotiations with Bon Appetit and its parent company, Compass Group.
“We are thrilled that hundreds of workers providing food to the students and faculty of Washington University in St. Louis have elected to come together to get the better life they deserve,” Local 655 President David Cook said.
“These individuals provide a vital service to Washington University and have clearly spoken that they want the better wages and working conditions that a union contract will afford them. The students of Washington University overwhelmingly supported this action, and we are excited to do our part for more hard-working Missourians.”
A spokeswoman for Bon Appetit said the company respects the outcome and is “committed to meeting with and negotiating in good faith with UFCW.”
This is the union’s second effort to bring union representation to the workers employed by Bon Appetit.
A previous effort last spring was defeated after the university hired a firm specializing in defeating union organizing elections and conducted a highly negative campaign against Local 655.
This time around, Local 655 was able to negotiate a neutrality agreement in which the university and Bon Appetit agreed to let employees decide based on facts, without the anti-union rhetoric of a negative campaign.
“We applaud the university and Bon Appetit for their neutrality decision showing that they respect the rights of the employees to make a decision without outside interference,” Cook said.
“We look forward to addressing the needs of our new members by working in partnership with the company, understanding a partnership is a two-way street; that Bon Appetit needs to be a profitable company while ensuring that our members’ legitimate concerns can be met.”
A JOB WELL DONE
Cook complimented the union’s organizing team for their successful effort. They include: new Director of Organizing Billy Meyer, Maria LaGorio, Bridget Kelly, Lakenya Roberson and union member Denise Shaw.