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Bon Appétit employees to unionize

On Tuesday afternoon, a group of students, professors and supporters marched into Davenport Dining Hall in support of Bon Appétit employees fighting to get what they were promised by management. Bon Appetit employee Jessica Alberts speaks to company accountant Mary Whitten, asking to talk to the manager, who is hiding in a back room. This was the second delegation held for Alberts to support her as she fought to get her working hours back after the company cut almost half of them. / photo by Hunter Cole

On Tuesday afternoon, a group of students, professors and supporters marched into Davenport Dining Hall in support of Bon Appétit employees fighting to get what they were promised by management. Bon Appetit employee Jessica Alberts speaks to company accountant Mary Whitten, asking to talk to the manager, who is hiding in a back room. This was the second delegation held for Alberts to support her as she fought to get her working hours back after the company cut almost half of them. / photo by Hunter Cole

Katie Madden
Arts Editor

Christina Collins Burton
Editorial Director

After more than a year of planning and organizing, Bon Appétit employees on Thursday voted 16-9 in favor of establishing a union.

The vote took place in the University Chapel.

“I’m not shocked, I knew we were going to win,” said Nellie Ruiz, senior criminology major and Unite Here volunteer. “The workers deserve it. They worked so hard and I’m so proud of them and their courage and really stepping up and fighting for their rights and fighting for equality.”

Unite Here has been helping the Bon Appétit workers to fight for their right to unionize by showing support through delegations and rallies of students and faculty.

The movement originally started when employees began voicing concerns about having to work too many jobs at once, not having breaks, and being ignored or disrespected in the workplace.

“There should be few changes for myself personally,” said Filiberto Renteria, a Bon Appétit employee. “I would like to see changes in the cost of health insurance and of course pay. From there we go on to get more help when it is needed to complete the tasks that are assigned to us.”

As supporters and employees marched from the Chapel through campus after the results were shared they chanted “Si se pudo!” meaning, “Yes we did!” in celebration.

The group marched to Davenport to inform the workers about the victory and to clap in support of them. Then they went to show their support for employees at Barbara’s Place.

“I’m hoping and presuming that the workers here now will be working together to take the responsibility to create a better workplace for themselves and everybody else around them, including the people that did not want it.” said John Bartelt, professor of education technology, who has been supporting the workers from the beginning.

“This is just the beginning, its still going to be a continuing process,” said Eddie Briones, another supporter of the unionization since the start.

Katie Madden can be reached at kaitlin.madden@laverne.edu.

Christina Collins Burton can be reached at christina.burton@laverne.edu.

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