To our community,
As it stands, 34 food service workers will be laid off and lose their health insurance coverage August 15th, 2019 because of the College’s decision to end its contract with Bon Appetit. This decision jeopardizes the existing union contract with Local 164 of UNITE HERE! New England Joint Board and thus, many protections fought for by workers since their union contract was won by supermajority in 2014.
Cost-cutting that disproportionately affects the College’s lowest-wage earners is hardly a new battle for our dignified and resolute friends in the Dining Commons and the Bridge.
If newly elected President Edward Wingenbach and Hampshire's overall administration truly values the work dining commons staff do to keep our community running, they would work together to minimize harm towards Bon Appetit workers, their families, and their jobs in the midst of financial crisis.
It is our utmost responsibility as allies to Local 164 of UNITE HERE! NEJB to protect the existing gains made by workers and strive for fair and ethical treatment during this financial crisis. It should be a goal to save all 34 food service workers positions or at the very least minimize the negative impacts of financial restructuring. Food service workers should be guaranteed direct payout by the college for healthcare benefits, fair severance, job search support, and preferential re-hiring of unionized workers with seniority by the college’s new dining service beginning Fall 2019. It is also our responsibility as community members to continually pressure our current leadership about their vision for dining services next year. If we are committed to an ethical food system here at Hampshire College, then we must be committed to ethical treatment of those who work tirelessly to keep our food system running. Once again, we ask:
1) Preferential rehiring of existing dining services employees based on seniority
2) Healthcare and unemployment coverage for laid off members of the Hampshire College Dining Commons
3) A complete plan from the College on changes in Dining infrastructure, rehiring, and sustainable dining services available to students
4) End unfair labor practices that target unions and labor activism among workers, students, staff, and faculty at Hampshire College
Full community letter with history of student-worker organizing published in May: