Animal Rights Collective Blog


Over 100 GMU Workers Strike by christine

from the SEIU blog | by Ashley Wood

Sodexo’s most recent retaliation against workers was the last straw at George Mason University. On Wednesday, more than 100 food service workers at GMU went on strike to protest the unsafe working conditions they’ve experienced while on the job. The workers say Sodexo has responded to their demands with retaliation instead of providing the proper protective equipment.

Last week, when workers and students at the Virginia school delivered a petition to Sodexo management raising health and safety concerns, Sodexo responded by changing the assignment of one worker leader of the delegation so she would no longer have contact with students.

Yesterday, Sodexo workers stood up for their rights at GMU and voted to walk off the job to protest workplace injuries and Sodexo’s attempt to intimidate them.

“We are tired of getting burned and injured on the job,” said Christela Moreno, who has worked since 1989 for Sodexo. “We want safe jobs and we want our union, but when we speak up, management tries to scare and intimidate us. That’s why we’re on strike.”

Workers have already protested Sodexo last spring at GMU, after facing intimidation for supporting a union. And wages for GMU workers are so low, most of them cannot afford Sodexo’s expensive health insurance – making safe jobs and union contracts necessary to improve their lives.

GMUStudents_SDXStrikeSept2010.jpgSince 2000, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and various state workplace safety agencies have found 160 violations and levied penalties of more than $200,000 against Sodexo for health and safety problems at its various worksites across the country.

“Sodexo workers shouldn’t go to work fearing that they might end up in the hospital,” said Jaime Contreras, 32BJ District Director. “Last year the company made $1 billion in profits, and workers are simply asking the company to provide good jobs with basic safety protections.”

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