Sodexo alleges union campaign, event speaker recruited by SEIU
NEW ORLEANS, La. – Last Thursday, the Tulane University Peace Action Committee (TUPAC) hosted a panel, “Sodexo Workers Speak Out,” that offered a worker’s first hand experience with Sodexo’s standards and practices.
Former Sodexo employee Carinas Mieses, who worked for Sodexo at a mine in the Dominican Republic, claims she tried to unionize Sodexo employees in response to physical threats and poor treatment by upper management. She then asserts that Sodexo upper management immediately terminated her employment contract and blacklisted her and all employees involved in the unionization effort.
Other alleged practices also came under fire, including a lack of sick days, which incentivizes employees to work when ill and increases the risk of infection for other employees and students.
Shaquille Taylor, a current Tulane Sodexo employee, voiced disappointed with management’s lack of respect for employees, as well as the unsanitary work environment. After cutting his finger on the job, Sodexo paid for some of his medical expenses but no forgone wages.
Sodexo’s Public Relations Director Monica Zimmer disputes these claims and says that Sodexo does not, “harass, intimidate, or discriminate” against any Sodexo employees for engaging in union activities.
“Allegations that Sodexo intimidates or improperly fires workers attempting to unionize are false… Their campaign jeopardizes our Company and our employees’ jobs.”
In fact, in a recent court filing against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Robert Stern, senior vice president and general counsel for Sodexo USA, claims the SEIU engaged in a “illegal campaign of extortion” in an attempt to drive business away from Sodexo. The SEIU assisted with procuring a speaker from the Recovery School District for the Tulane event.
Loyola University economics professor Dr. Walter Block doesn’t believe Sodexo needs to apologize for their resistance toward unionization. Block compares unions to criminal organizations, since they “rely upon labor legislation that forces unwilling employers to deal with [employees], characterizing ‘scabs’ as those who wish to compete with their peers for the jobs in question.”
TUPAC leader Ben Zucker said universities like Tulane and Loyola who actively subsidize Sodexo should cease supporting a company that actively avoids empowering it’s own employees and endangers the health and well-being of it’s employees and customers.
“It’s an embarrassment to have a company like Sodexo at Tulane and it is the responsibility of the entire Tulane community to stand up for what is just.”
Charlotte McCray contributed to this article as a research assistant with the Pelican Institute for Public Policy. McCray studies philosophy and economics at Loyola University in New Orleans.