Local 11 members preserve free family health care and tuition waiver for employees’ children admitted to USC
LOS ANGELES – More than 600 University of Southern California food service workers, represented by Unite Here Local 11, ratified a new contract on Friday, Oct. 16 with a significant wage increase and the preservation of free family healthcare.
The USC employees won wage increases of up to $2.45 per hour and upheld the Local 11 standard of free, full family medical coverage throughout the life of the contract. "With Unite Here we have a long tradition of organizing for strong contracts with big improvements, and this victory is just another example," said Alfredo Valle, a food server at USC for more than 25 years.
Employees won access to enroll in a 403(b) retirement savings account with an up to 10 percent contribution from the university. They also preserved the tuition waiver benefit, which allows employees’ children, if admitted, to attend the university free of charge.
"With UNITE HERE we have a long tradition of organizing for strong contracts with big improvements, and this victory is just another example," said Alfredo Valle, a food server at USC for more than 25 years.
Just as bargaining got underway last month, 80 food service workers took their demands to USC President Steven Sample to demonstrate their organizational power and commitment to winning a strong contract.
In solidarity, student activists joined workers in support of a strong contract.
"This is our campus food service, we must encourage the university to set a standard for sustainability and economic justice for all," said Charlie Carnow, a USC Master’s candidate and campus activist.
Other contract gains include, significant increases in the wage rate for summer work, increased summer work opportunities for food service workers based on seniority, enhancement of gratuity opportunities for banquet servers and the a reduced workload for USC Hotel room attendants.