SOUL letter calls University to stand behind Pierce dining employees

By Anastasia Kaiser

Concerned about the future of employees at Pierce Dining Commons, members of Students Organizing United with Labor (SOUL) delivered letters yesterday afternoon to Director of Campus Dining Richard Mason and President Zimmer’s office in the administration building, calling on the University to pressure Aramark to negotiate with union representatives. The issue at stake is the future employment of Pierce’s current workers, including their pay and hours.

Catherine Schutzius, a senior union representative for Teamsters Local 743, the union that represents dining employees at the University, told the Maroon that the situation remains unclear. She said she expects that most of the employees at Pierce will be reassigned to other campus dining locations following the demolition of the building, but expressed concerns that they will face reduced hours and different shift times. Schutzius confirmed that Aramark had not yet met with union representatives to begin negotiations.

According to the University’s dining Web site, Pierce dining staff will have the option to bid on campus food service positions. However, it remains unclear whether all Pierce employees will be guaranteed future employment in the University’s dining system, Schutzius said.

As they delivered the letter to the dining office, SOUL members spoke to Mason about their concerns. The students, some of whom were Pierce residents, described Pierce dining workers as “members of their family” at the University. After listening to students’ share memories of their experiences with the employees, Mason told SOUL members that he would be in touch and that he feared there had been a misunderstanding. He did not provide further comment. SOUL members said they hope that negotiations between Aramark and the union happen before the start of the summer in order to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.