Chicago State University cafeteria workers might be jobless in New Year
Workers picket to demand that food service provider negotiate
Current food service provider might terminate contract with CSU due to University financial dispute
(CHICAGO) –Today, a top official of Thompson Hospitality, a food service contractor, announced to Chicago State University dining hall workers that it might stop providing food service this month at the University due to a financial dispute with CSU. The jobs of approximately 50 dining hall workers and the future of food service provider Thompson Hospitality at CSU now hang in the balance.
The contract between Thompson and the University is not set to expire until June 2014. The official from Thompson Hospitality told workers that the company has submitted to the University a 30-day notice to terminate the contract due to unfulfilled financial obligations.
“I need my job to survive, to feed my daughter. It’s the holidays,” said Candace Cain, who has worked in the cafeteria for two years. “The University must resolve this problem.”
Meanwhile, dining hall workers began picketing Thompson Hospitality today. While the union has been in contract negotiations with Thompson Hospitality since June, Thompson has cancelled scheduled meetings twice, and its last meeting with workers was on October 16. Workers spoke at today’s Illinois Board of Higher Education meeting and are planning to take further actions in the coming days.
The food service at CSU cafeterias is paid for by students. All students living in a traditional residence hall on campus are required to purchase a meal plan.
Earlier this year, dining hall workers unionized, joining UNITE HERE Local 1 in April, in an effort to bring stability and end poverty wages paid to food service employees at the University. While the union has been in contract negotiations with Thompson Hospitality since June, Thompson has cancelled scheduled meetings twice, and its last meeting with workers was on October 16. Local 1 has filed unfair labor practice charges in response to the company failure to negotiate.
UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 15,000 hospitality workers and casino workers in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana.