Chicago State University cafeteria workers on strike

Strike is the first of university cafeteria workers in Chicago history


(CHICAGO) – Today, Chicago State University cafeteria workers went on strike in response to food service contractor Thompson Hospitality’s cancellation of negotiations. On Monday, December 3, cafeteria workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 1, filed unfair labor practice charges against Thompson Hospitality for repeatedly cancelling negotiations and failing to bargain in good faith. It is the first strike of university cafeteria workers in Chicago history.


Earlier this year, dining hall workers unionized 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 the union was on October 16.

“I take pride in my work and want to serve good, quality food to students. It breaks my heart that the company has forced us into this position,” said Candace Cain, who has worked in the cafeteria for two years. 

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, December 4, a top official of Thompson Hospitality announced to University dining hall workers that it might stop providing food service in the New Year at the University due to a financial dispute with CSU. The jobs of approximately 50 dining hall workers and the future of Thompson Hospitality at CSU now hang in the balance.


“I was hoping for a contract in 2012, but now I don’t know if I’ll even have a job in 2013,” said Cain. “For us and the students, the University must resolve this problem to ensure that we have good jobs where we continue cooking and serving food to the students.”



UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 15,000 hospitality workers and casino workers in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana.