On Thursday, May 13, members of UNITE HERE Local 804 overwhelmingly ratified a new contract for over 900 food service workers who proudly serve our military at Ft. Benning in Columbus, Georgia. Members of Local 804 have been in negotiations with the Ft. Benning food service contractor L & S Services since March.
Local 804 members saw unprecedented member and community involvement in this year’s contract negotiations. On Monday March 10, 2010, over 500 UNITE HERE Local 804 members and labor, community, and religious leaders rallied to celebrate the settlement of the new contract.
The new Local 804 contract sets landmark standards for dignity and respect on the job for food service workers who serve our nation’s troops. The new agreement includes twenty new items improving working conditions. UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm said in his speech at the May 10th rally, "I have never seen language that guarantees respect and dignity like this in any contract." The new contract also achieves the best financial terms ever in the history of Local 804 by more than doubling the economic terms from the last contract.
The May 10th event was attended by numerous political and community leaders including Words of Wisdom Christian Centers Bishop Barbara Shepherd; State Representative Debbie Buckner; State Representative Carolyn Hugley; Mike Thurmond, candidate for U.S. Senate; two candidates for Governor of Georgia, Roy Barnes and Dubose Porter; Gail Buckner, candidate for Secretary of State; Dr. Joe Hurst, candidate for State Senate; Frank Saunders, candidate for State House; and two candidates for Mayor of Columbus, Teresa Tomlinson and Zeph Baker.