“I feel blessed. A union means a better life for me and my family,” said Janet Irving, a Loyola campus dining worker and member of the worker organizing committee that had been building support for the union at Loyola, one of the leading Catholic Jesuit universities in the nation.
In October, a majority of Loyola campus dining workers, with support from Loyola faculty, students, and clergy approached the employer about a fair process to choose a union. The company agreed to a process and recognized UNITE HERE Local 1 on Tuesday, November 16th.
The campus dining workforce at Loyola comes from all over the world, with 16 different countries of origin. Many dining workers at Loyola have served the student and faculty community for decades.
With UNITE HERE, the Loyola workers join the leading union of food service workers in North America, joining dining workers from over 100 campuses across the United States and Canada. In Chicago, the Loyola workers join dining workers at DePaul University who are also members of UNITE HERE Local 1 and recently won a great new contract, which included significant improvements in wages and healthcare benefits as well as protections for immigrant workers.
The worker organizing committee at Loyola will enter into contract negotiations with their employer in the coming months. For now, they are celebrating. “I love taking care of the students in the dining halls, and I feel great that now I will get to do it as a union member,” Loyola dining service worker Eva Rangel said.
UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago’s hospitality workers union, represents over 15,000 hotel and food service workers in Chicago and casino workers in Northwest Indiana. UNITE HERE represents over 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in the hospitality, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, laundry, and airport industries.
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