For immediate release
September 1, 2011
Workers, students and faculty rally after new dining hall operator fails to rehire dozens of workers
Dozens of Manhattan College dining hall workers will rally across the street from the entrance to the college’s Bronx campus on Thursday afternoon to protest actions of the school’s new dining hall operator, Gourmet Dining, which has failed to rehire about 65 of the workers who previously staffed Manhattan College’s dining hall since taking over operations at the end of May.
That decision has left workers, some of whom have served the Manhattan College community for as many as 39 years, to struggle with a sudden loss of income and health insurance. Nearly all of the affected workers are Bronx residents, an area that has been hit hard by the recession. "It’s a terrible feeling to lose your job in this economy," says Angelic Samuel, who has worked at Manhattan College for 7 years. "My biggest concern is how this will affect my daughter and how I will be able to provide for her."
Manhattan College dining workers were members of UNITE HERE Local 100 and as a result of their union contract enjoyed decent wages and family medical benefits.
"Manhattan College is my home away from home," says Mark Coleman, who has worked at the college for 4 years. "I love to take care of the students. It’s terrible for an outside contractor to come and break up our community like this. I feel like I’m losing my second family."
Students who support the dining hall workers have formed a group to support them called Manhattan College Students for Social Justice as an expression of solidarity. A LaSallian Catholic College, Manhattan College’s mission statement includes a commitment to social justice.
UNITE HERE Local 100 is the union for food service and restaurant workers in the New York area, representing over 6,000 service workers throughout New York City, Westchester, Long Island and New Jersey. www.unitehere100.org
UNITE HERE represents over 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in the hospitality, gaming, food service, and airport industries. www.unitehere.org