After fighting for years to win their union, workers at Chartwells approved their first contract!
About sixty people work in cafeteria services at Anderson University; they are employed by Compass Group, a major corporation that manages vending machines and cafeteria staff for mostly schools, private prisons, and large workplaces.
Like too many other companies across our state, and the country, it was becoming harder for workers at Chartwells to get by. Their benefits were cut and wages were stagnant. They joined together to form a union.
The workers’ first election was overturned due to employer violations following an NLRB hearing and trial. Subsequently, the company agreed to card check, or voluntary recognition. Voluntary recognition means that the workers must not hold another election, but rather that when a majority of workers have filled out union cards, the employer recognizes the union to negotiate a contract.
Workers at Chartwells met and completed bargaining surveys in order to develop a list of priorities for negotiations. A Union Bargaining Committee met with the company over the course of a few months and finally reached a tentative agreement for a first contract, which was recently approved.
The new contract includes regular, guaranteed wage increases; advance notification for scheduling; paid time off (vacation and holidays); seniority rights; and affordable quality health care. Part-time workers now have provisions for funeral leave; paid time off, including vacation and sick days; and holiday pay.
“Our new union contract is going to improve the quality our lives,” said Sybilla Bryson, an organizing and bargaining committee member, and part-time employee at Chartwells. “It was definitely worth all the hard work of organizing. The experience of helping with organizing and negotiating our contract has changed and shaped me as a person in ways I didn’t know were possible; I am so much stronger now.”
Congratulations to workers at Chartwells for joining our union family, and coming together to negotiate with their employers for the kind of wages, benefits, and working conditions that help to build better lives.