Sodexho Workers and Supporters Speak and Walk Out of the UC Regents Meeting at the Mondavi Center in Davis

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During open comment period at the UC Regents meeting at the Mondavi Senator, a throng of at least 100 supporters of the Sodexho Food Workers came to support and a smaller group of perhaps 20 spoke during public comment. These individuals included food service workers, students, ASUCD Senators, community members, and members of the Davis Faith Community.

Ivan Carrillo an ASUCD senator spoke:

“Here on campus, workers are being exploited. There are over 500 Sodexho workers, predominantly students who are not being paid comparable wages nor given the benefits of employees hired directly by the university. The biggest discrepancy is in the cost of health insurance. A full-time employee hired by Sodexho is currently charged 18 times more than a food service employee of the university. In other words, Sodexho workers are paying 95 percent more for health insurance than university employees. I’ve met far too many people who do not have health insurance, for themselves or their families, because they cannot afford it. It comes down to justice. I want justice for these workers, the students want justice for these workers, workers want justice, professors want justice, elected state politicians want justice, please help us bring justice.”

Christopher Cabaldon was supposed to speak, but according to his representative Robbie Abalon he got called away for an emergency meeting with the Mayor of Suisun City. He will speak on behalf of the Sodexho Workers tomorrow. Mr. Abalon spoke briefly in favor of the workers efforts to become full university employees.

Guy Turner from the St. James Gospel Justice group, which brought a number of community members with them to this event, spoke as well.

“I’m embarrassed, I’m saddened to be here. To find the situation with the Sodexho workers on campus as I’ve heard over the past two months. I would ask that the Chancellor would possibly come out after this meeting and meet with the workers and the support group that’s here.”

The supporters of Sodexho were joined in solidarity by students from across the UCs who were there in support of student diversity ahead of the release of the Diversity Report.

Following public comment, the meeting was interrupted first by a lone demonstrator who shouted from the crowd. The Sodexho Workers and their supporters then briefly interrupted the meeting with a chant as they exited.

To their credit, the Regent paused with their meeting until the students left and then continued.

After the meeting I spoke with a couple of Food Service Workers. Lydia is a cook at UC Davis and a current Sodexho worker. She spoke to me in Spanish and Maria, a former Sodexho worker at the UC Santa Cruz campus helped translate and spoke to me as well about her experience of switching from Sodexho to being a full-time university employee at UC Santa Cruz.

Maria translating for Lydia said:

“She said she’s been working 7 years with Sodexho. She said there’s a huge difference from what she hears from workers working with the university and what she’s working with Sodexho. She has only seven hours per day and instead of eight hours. And also she saw a big difference with the insurance, because she has insurance, but that’s only for her own not for her kids or even for her husband. So that one is so expensive that she can’t even pay for what she’s getting right now. And she hears that with the university, if she’s going to have insurance, it’s also going to cover the kids and the husband. So for the whole family, that’s why she’d like to become a worker with the university. And also with the benefits and all the kind of things that come with being a university employee.”

Maria then talks about her own experience in Santa Cruz:

“I was working also with Sodexho. Well, first I was working with Mario and Sodexho. Then Mario left and Sodexho was the only company there. And I was working around eight years and it was really bad, also like we didn’t have the whole benefits, like right here. And also for us it was like so hard because they’d make us work like 40 hours for like three months, and then after three months they pull again like 20 hours because that way they keep from giving us the benefits like the law says. So it was really a huge change for us in Santa Cruz because I can see after we became employees I saw the family could take the kids to the dentist. If they need glasses, they can take them to these kind of things and it was a big big change, also we had the benefits. Also we had the sick hours [with the university, but] with Sodexho we didn’t have any.

I think the more important thing for us also was the respect. After we [became employees] with the university, we could fight for the respect to the managers, to the workers. Before we [could not] say anything because if we say something, we were gonna get fired. So now we can have a way to fight back with them, you know. We just need to work and if they don’t show us respect, we can say something back with the union. And before, if you don’t have a union, you can’t really say anything because you’re gonna get fired. And that’s the big change that we have with the university. So I’m here to support them, because it’s really important that these workers can be with the university.”

Maria drove up from Santa Cruz, waking up at four in the morning to support the workers in their fight for the university.

The strong showing at the UC Regents meet is meant to put pressure on UC Davis as the only University in all of UC to still outsource their workers to the notorious union-busting company Sodexho.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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56 thoughts on “Sodexho Workers and Supporters Speak and Walk Out of the UC Regents Meeting at the Mondavi Center in Davis”

  1. UCD Alum

    Great coverage Vanguard! As I’ve said in the past.

    I have ceased all of my UCD contributions to UC Davis until this issue is resolved. It’s an embarassment that this issue continues.

    I hope the Chancellor has the courage to do the right thing and treat the workers with respect and dignity.

  2. UCD Alum

    Great coverage Vanguard! As I’ve said in the past.

    I have ceased all of my UCD contributions to UC Davis until this issue is resolved. It’s an embarassment that this issue continues.

    I hope the Chancellor has the courage to do the right thing and treat the workers with respect and dignity.

  3. UCD Alum

    Great coverage Vanguard! As I’ve said in the past.

    I have ceased all of my UCD contributions to UC Davis until this issue is resolved. It’s an embarassment that this issue continues.

    I hope the Chancellor has the courage to do the right thing and treat the workers with respect and dignity.

  4. UCD Alum

    Great coverage Vanguard! As I’ve said in the past.

    I have ceased all of my UCD contributions to UC Davis until this issue is resolved. It’s an embarassment that this issue continues.

    I hope the Chancellor has the courage to do the right thing and treat the workers with respect and dignity.

  5. Sue Greenwald

    Christopher Cabaldon and I both had to attend a meeting of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority and Suisun this morning. We were needed to constitute a quorum to take action on the annual budget.

  6. Sue Greenwald

    Christopher Cabaldon and I both had to attend a meeting of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority and Suisun this morning. We were needed to constitute a quorum to take action on the annual budget.

  7. Sue Greenwald

    Christopher Cabaldon and I both had to attend a meeting of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority and Suisun this morning. We were needed to constitute a quorum to take action on the annual budget.

  8. Sue Greenwald

    Christopher Cabaldon and I both had to attend a meeting of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority and Suisun this morning. We were needed to constitute a quorum to take action on the annual budget.

  9. UC Alum & Davis Community Member

    Thank you for your comment Mayor Sue Greenwald. We have seen Mayor Christopher Cabaldon take many public stands in support of direct UC employment and Union representation for contracted out workers at UCD. As the Host Mayor of this UC, your public support would mean a lot to all of us in Davis. Will you join workers, student, alumni, faculty, faith leaders, and other elected officials in our community in making a public stand of support?

  10. UC Alum & Davis Commun

    Thank you for your comment Mayor Sue Greenwald. We have seen Mayor Christopher Cabaldon take many public stands in support of direct UC employment and Union representation for contracted out workers at UCD. As the Host Mayor of this UC, your public support would mean a lot to all of us in Davis. Will you join workers, student, alumni, faculty, faith leaders, and other elected officials in our community in making a public stand of support?

  11. UC Alum & Davis Commun

    Thank you for your comment Mayor Sue Greenwald. We have seen Mayor Christopher Cabaldon take many public stands in support of direct UC employment and Union representation for contracted out workers at UCD. As the Host Mayor of this UC, your public support would mean a lot to all of us in Davis. Will you join workers, student, alumni, faculty, faith leaders, and other elected officials in our community in making a public stand of support?

  12. UC Alum & Davis Commun

    Thank you for your comment Mayor Sue Greenwald. We have seen Mayor Christopher Cabaldon take many public stands in support of direct UC employment and Union representation for contracted out workers at UCD. As the Host Mayor of this UC, your public support would mean a lot to all of us in Davis. Will you join workers, student, alumni, faculty, faith leaders, and other elected officials in our community in making a public stand of support?

  13. Liberal Voter

    It’s pretty pathetic that in a so-called liberal town like Davis there is only one council member, Lamar Heystek, who has taken a stance on supporting the Sodexho workers and other labor issues.

    It’s time for Davis to go back to it’s more liberal roots.

  14. Liberal Voter

    It’s pretty pathetic that in a so-called liberal town like Davis there is only one council member, Lamar Heystek, who has taken a stance on supporting the Sodexho workers and other labor issues.

    It’s time for Davis to go back to it’s more liberal roots.

  15. Liberal Voter

    It’s pretty pathetic that in a so-called liberal town like Davis there is only one council member, Lamar Heystek, who has taken a stance on supporting the Sodexho workers and other labor issues.

    It’s time for Davis to go back to it’s more liberal roots.

  16. Liberal Voter

    It’s pretty pathetic that in a so-called liberal town like Davis there is only one council member, Lamar Heystek, who has taken a stance on supporting the Sodexho workers and other labor issues.

    It’s time for Davis to go back to it’s more liberal roots.

  17. Matt McPherson

    Please point me to summaries of the arguments by the Sodexho workers and UCD. While persistent, the coverage of this issue seems quite shallow – UCD stays quiet while the contract workers primarily vent their jealousy of the UC employees.

    Somewhere someone must rationally explain why UCD chooses to outsource certain work, and why they should not be allowed to do so.

    Thanks

  18. Matt McPherson

    Please point me to summaries of the arguments by the Sodexho workers and UCD. While persistent, the coverage of this issue seems quite shallow – UCD stays quiet while the contract workers primarily vent their jealousy of the UC employees.

    Somewhere someone must rationally explain why UCD chooses to outsource certain work, and why they should not be allowed to do so.

    Thanks

  19. Matt McPherson

    Please point me to summaries of the arguments by the Sodexho workers and UCD. While persistent, the coverage of this issue seems quite shallow – UCD stays quiet while the contract workers primarily vent their jealousy of the UC employees.

    Somewhere someone must rationally explain why UCD chooses to outsource certain work, and why they should not be allowed to do so.

    Thanks

  20. Matt McPherson

    Please point me to summaries of the arguments by the Sodexho workers and UCD. While persistent, the coverage of this issue seems quite shallow – UCD stays quiet while the contract workers primarily vent their jealousy of the UC employees.

    Somewhere someone must rationally explain why UCD chooses to outsource certain work, and why they should not be allowed to do so.

    Thanks

  21. Richard

    It’s time for Davis to go back to it’s more liberal roots.

    When it comes to labor unions, Davis has never had “liberal roots”. Indeed, histrorically, it is distinctive for being a liberal city that specifically excludes support for labor unions for its perspective.

    –Richard Estes

  22. Richard

    It’s time for Davis to go back to it’s more liberal roots.

    When it comes to labor unions, Davis has never had “liberal roots”. Indeed, histrorically, it is distinctive for being a liberal city that specifically excludes support for labor unions for its perspective.

    –Richard Estes

  23. Richard

    It’s time for Davis to go back to it’s more liberal roots.

    When it comes to labor unions, Davis has never had “liberal roots”. Indeed, histrorically, it is distinctive for being a liberal city that specifically excludes support for labor unions for its perspective.

    –Richard Estes

  24. Richard

    It’s time for Davis to go back to it’s more liberal roots.

    When it comes to labor unions, Davis has never had “liberal roots”. Indeed, histrorically, it is distinctive for being a liberal city that specifically excludes support for labor unions for its perspective.

    –Richard Estes

  25. Anonymous

    Labor unions are opposed to liberty. No one who believes in liberty believes in organized labor. All “liberals” should fight against unions. The whole scheme is designed to take jobs away from independents and enrich the mobsters who run every union. What is liberal about that?

  26. Anonymous

    Labor unions are opposed to liberty. No one who believes in liberty believes in organized labor. All “liberals” should fight against unions. The whole scheme is designed to take jobs away from independents and enrich the mobsters who run every union. What is liberal about that?

  27. Anonymous

    Labor unions are opposed to liberty. No one who believes in liberty believes in organized labor. All “liberals” should fight against unions. The whole scheme is designed to take jobs away from independents and enrich the mobsters who run every union. What is liberal about that?

  28. Anonymous

    Labor unions are opposed to liberty. No one who believes in liberty believes in organized labor. All “liberals” should fight against unions. The whole scheme is designed to take jobs away from independents and enrich the mobsters who run every union. What is liberal about that?

  29. Doug Paul Davis

    And what you see from what the workers are telling you in this article is the exact opposite. That without union protection, workers who complain are fired.

  30. Doug Paul Davis

    And what you see from what the workers are telling you in this article is the exact opposite. That without union protection, workers who complain are fired.

  31. Doug Paul Davis

    And what you see from what the workers are telling you in this article is the exact opposite. That without union protection, workers who complain are fired.

  32. Doug Paul Davis

    And what you see from what the workers are telling you in this article is the exact opposite. That without union protection, workers who complain are fired.

  33. Sue Greenwald

    I support the Sodexho workers. I believe that the City, the Yolo Transportation Board, and the University have much work to do in assuring better wages, benefits and conditions for our part time and contract workers. I have been working on a number of fronts on these issues, focusing on the ones over which I have some control. I will be reporting in greater depth.

  34. Sue Greenwald

    I support the Sodexho workers. I believe that the City, the Yolo Transportation Board, and the University have much work to do in assuring better wages, benefits and conditions for our part time and contract workers. I have been working on a number of fronts on these issues, focusing on the ones over which I have some control. I will be reporting in greater depth.

  35. Sue Greenwald

    I support the Sodexho workers. I believe that the City, the Yolo Transportation Board, and the University have much work to do in assuring better wages, benefits and conditions for our part time and contract workers. I have been working on a number of fronts on these issues, focusing on the ones over which I have some control. I will be reporting in greater depth.

  36. Sue Greenwald

    I support the Sodexho workers. I believe that the City, the Yolo Transportation Board, and the University have much work to do in assuring better wages, benefits and conditions for our part time and contract workers. I have been working on a number of fronts on these issues, focusing on the ones over which I have some control. I will be reporting in greater depth.

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