After many months filled with benefit cuts, protesting and unionizing, change finally came for the campus food workers at TCU.
During a pair of meetings Tuesday, the workers ratified a proposed collective bargaining agreement contract with their union, United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Local 1000, and Sodexo USA, according to a press release.
“It was so inspiring to see these workers bargain their first contract,” UFCW Secretary-Treasurer Casey Williams said in the release.
“It was an honor to sit down next to them at the negotiating table and fight for their seniority, vacations, and raises.”
Citing the Affordable Care Act, Sodexo redefined full-time employment last fall, which cut many benefits for its employees at TCU and across the nation.
The approval of the collective bargaining agreement restores all the cuts “Sodexo undertook unilaterally last year,” said Anthony Elmo, UFCW political and communications director.
Along with restoring the cuts, the release said the contract “guarantees new wage increases, job security, seniority rights, vacation and sick pay, and other union protections.”
TCU Sodexo workers responded to Sodexo’s initial ruling by voting in favor of labor union representation in late March. The workers then joined the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) local union following the decision.
“[TCU’s] workers really helped spark a national decision by Sodexo to reverse itself and go back on what it decided to do, which I think is a good thing for the worker’s nationally,” Elmo said last week.
Both UFCW negotiators and a committee of workers negotiated with Sodexo representatives last week to propose the bargaining agreement contract.
“The talks were civil and professional,” Sodexo Worker and UFCW Negotiating Committeeman Roy Papajohn said in the release.
“It was a learning experience…both sides were tough in the bargaining, but we were able to find middle ground on areas of disagreement.”
Tuesday’s meetings at 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. included the rest of the workers and looked to explain the contract through a presentation prior to voting.
“I feel we reached a fair agreement and TCU workers are happy with the final outcome,” Papajohn said.
Elmo wrote in an email the votes from Tuesday morning’s meeting were overwhelmingly in favor of ratification.
The approval of the collective bargaining agreement came almost two weeks after Sodexo announced plans to restore health coverage to its employees.