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Food service workers, unite

Editorial cartoon by Jacob Bogdanoff

Editorial cartoon by Jacob Bogdanoff

Some Bon Appétit employees have complained that they feel pressured to work before and after clocking in. It is illegal and unethical to make an employee work for free. If claims made by Bon Appétit employees are true and they wish to organize a vote to form a union, then we support them.

The employees are tired and say they have asked management for the right to choose to have a union, a method that could protect them from working excessive hours for free. Management should entertain such requests.

If employee claims are true, is unfortunate that the management of Bon Appétit was not informed of employees rights.

Disregard for the people who make it possible for a business to function is wrong and shows a lack of respect.

Employees have also said that their breaks are not granted, or they are sometimes asked to skip breaks. Employees should not be expected to work for free or be denied breaks.

Even if Bon Appétit discourages its employees from unionizing, its management should respect the rights of its employees. With increased enrollment at ULV, it is understandable that employees may feel overworked.

More students on campus causes more demand for service at catered events and longer lines at Barbara’s Place and Davenport Dining Hall. Employees may be offered more work hours but an agreement to work longer hours is not an agreement to be taken advantage of.

More customers for a business is always a welcome thing, but if Bon Appétit cannot, or will not, hire more help, then current employees should not be overworked.

If Bon Appétit is not maintaining service and proper treatment of employees, then perhaps Bon Appétit should not do business with ULV. Such practices – of making employees skip breaks and work off the clock – also go against the mission statement of the University.

Part of ULV’s mission statement is to encourage values-based ethical behavior. It makes no sense for a school that encourages the ethical treatment of people and ethical behavior to support a company that does not hold the same values.

The University’s administration should take action to support the Bon Appétit workers, and be in sync with its mission statement. Students look to the University for guidance and to set an example of for lifelong learning. If students see that the administration is not “walking the walk,” the school becomes a hypocritical institution and no longer serves the best interest of its students.

Students learn in the classroom, and also by example.

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