Sodexo workers staged a protest outside of the Lair on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Protestors held up signs reading "UNITE HERE! Sodexo Unfair/Sodexo Injusto" as they walked in a circle and chanted. Organizers handed out signs and clappers to people passing by and encouraged students to join the protest.
In an interview conducted in Spanish, Rosa Ojeda, a food preparer for Sodexo at LMU and one of the organizers of the protest, said the reason for the protest was that "Sodexo does not want to give a fair contract to its workers."
According to Ojeda, the group is protesting to negotiate a better contract with Sodexo, including higher wages.
“Right now with $14.40 [hourly wage] we cannot affordably live in California,” said Ojeda.
At the protest, many students joined in while officers from the Department of Public Safety stood by.
“During any protest on campus, LMU’s priority is the safety of our campus community ... LMU is not involved [with this protest]. The dispute is between Sodexo and its employees,” said Andrew O’Reilly, the senior director of Auxiliary and Business Services at LMU.
O’Reilly also said the protests would not affect LMU’s contract with Sodexo and that the University “does not anticipate a disruption to on-campus services.”
Before the protest, flyers were spread around campus that stated “Sodexo refuses to listen to our needs in negotiations! So we’ll see if they’ll listen to us on campus! Join us on Wednesday, 11/13 at 3:30 p.m. in front of the Lair!” with a cartoon of a woman holding a “UNITE HERE! Local 11” sign. Local 11 is the name of the union Sodexo employees are a part of, according to Ojeda.
Ojeda went on to explain that the negotiations with Sodexo have been going on for over a year with no agreement in sight. Ojeda explained that they had reached a standstill and are protesting because the workers want change.
When the Loyolan reached out to Sodexo for a statement, the company responded that Sodexo is in the process of negotiating with the Union for a “renewal contract.” They want to come to a consensus that represents their food service employees.
“We are scheduled to meet with the union and its bargaining committee again next week. We look forward to reaching an agreement that is fair to both parties.”
Students were especially involved in the protest, marching along workers .
“I think it’s a good cause because I do hear what the workers are saying about working in the Lair and [for] Sodexo in general ... they don’t get treated fairly,” said Camya Brazil, a freshman biochemistry major. “It’s nice to see our school allows us to protest.”