Previously, the 16 full-time workers at UPenn’s kosher cafeteria were at-will workers employed directly by Bon Appetit. About half of the university’s cafeteria workers are employed directly by the company, while the other half are union workers employed by the school and receive significantly better wages, benefits and working conditions.
The three-year contract includes provisions that guarantee sizeable wage increases, pension contributions, affordable health care, and more sick days and vacation time, said John Preston, Local 929’s secretary-treasurer. It also means workers won’t have to wait every August to find out whether they will still have a job for the coming school year.
Troy Harris, assistant shop steward who has worked in the dining hall for 13 years, said there are many benefits to the deal:
We don’t have to walk a tightrope to get a raise. Everything in in our contract.
Preston hopes the new contracts will encourage the almost 100 other full-time cafeteria workers that are still at-will employees to join the Teamsters:
“We’re pursuing all Bon Appetit employees at the University of Pennsylvania,” he said, adding that he hopes they will “become aware of the benefits of being covered by a union.”