Original Story at 11:54 a.m.: The Living Wage Campaign has announced an emergency meeting for Monday, January 9.
In an unsigned email sent early Wednesday morning, it claimed that “Sodexo has cut 2.5 hours from every dining hall worker at Northwestern.”
“At minimum,” read the email, “that’s $25 a week. $25 a week is gas money. $100 a month is groceries.”
At the time of publication, NBN has yet to confirm that Sodexo has reduced the weekly hours of every dining hall worker on campus.
The Living Wage Campaign (LWC) won a major victory in September when Sodexo and the campus food service workers union agreed on a new contract guaranteeing a $10-per-hour wage for all workers immediately and health care coverage for all workers by 2015. In October, LWC leaders said the movement “wasn’t over” and expressed hope for a university-wide policy guaranteeing a living wage.
The LWC began organizing in Fall Quarter 2009.
Kellyn Lewis, LWC co-director, heard about the cut when a dining hall employee called him on Jan. 3. According to the employee, all Northwestern dining hall workers will experience a weekly, two and a half hour cut starting Jan. 9, said Lewis.
Sodexo has yet to confirm the cut.
“The workers weren’t assembled into a room and told, ‘Hey, this is what’s happening. Your hours per week are going to be cut,’” Lewis said. “No. None of that happened. They didn’t tell the workers anything. By tomorrow, all the workers will know only because one of them found out, and they talk to each other. One co-worker will tell another co-worker, and so on.”
Lewis does not know the reasons for the cut, but hypothesizes it is related to the increased wage resulting from the September contract between Sodexo and campus food employees.
The time reduction negatively implicates employees, Sodexo and students alike, Lewis said. Workers have less time to prepare meals, lowering food quality and making the work environment more stressful and hazardous.
“Naturally, the workers are pissed off and upset,” Lewis said. “They’re not happy, I’m not happy and you shouldn’t be either.”
Until LWC’s emergency meeting on Monday, Lewis said he is waiting to “see what happens” and for a statement from Sodexo, with which he has not been in contact.
“For now, we are trying to spread information about the cut and the meeting,” Lewis said.This article will be updated as more information becomes available.