For immediate release
November 18, 2022
As conventions return, food service workers report stagnant wages amid cost-of-living spikes, job elimination, and unfair scheduling
WHAT: Zoom press conference. Hear from food service workers and union leaders about the need for new union contracts that address stagnant wages and poor working conditions. Media RSVP link for Zoom here.
WHO: Sodexo food service workers from Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center and the Las Vegas Convention Center; UNITE HERE International President D. Taylor and UNITE HERE union officials representing cooks, dishwashers, banquet servers, concessions cashiers, and more at convention centers in Orlando (UNITE HERE Local 737), Las Vegas (Culinary Workers Union Local 226), New Orleans (UNITE HERE Local 23), Sacramento (UNITE HERE Local 49), and Detroit (UNITE HERE Local 24).
WHEN: Monday, November 21 at 11 AM EST / 10 AM CST / 8 AM PST
WHY: While the meetings and events industry forecast a recovery in 2023, Sodexo food service workers at convention centers around the country say their jobs aren’t enough to keep up with the cost of living.
After months of negotiations, Sodexo food service workers at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando – the third largest convention center in the country – are voting to authorize a strike and will announce the results Monday. Centerplate food service workers at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the country’s second largest convention center, have also been in negotiations with Sodexo and will announce a date for a strike vote during the press conference. Centerplate was purchased by Sodexo in 2017. Sodexo food service workers in New Orleans, Sacramento, and Detroit will call on the company to avoid labor disputes in their cities.
“I support a strike because I need more money in my pocket to pay my bills when the cost of life has gone up so much. I struggle with food, rent, and gas with the money I make. I make $13.60 and our convention center is one of the biggest in the country. My coworkers and I are ready to do what it takes to win the contract we need,” said Jackeline Ponce, a Sodexo retail concessions worker at the Orange County Convention Center.
The bargaining units and disputes at each convention center are distinct. While specific issues vary from city to city, key issues across all five convention centers operated by Sodexo include wage increases, affordable health care, secure retirement, and fair scheduling.