Christina Collins Burton
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.
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