DePaul dining workers ratify contract


Courtesy of Unite Here Local 1.

On Tuesday, DePaul dining workers voted to ratify a new contract with the Compass Group, the university’s food service provider.

The terms of the new agreement will include a $19.88 minimum hourly wage and a permanent extension of health insurance benefits to all workers, according to a press release.

The sub-contracted Chartwells workers have been fighting for these new terms for two years.

“I used to make only $15 per hour, and soon I’ll make $19.88,” Rita Gonzalez, an employee in the utility department said in a news release. “I had to go to food pantries just to put food on the table for my family. Nobody who works for Chartwells should ever have to go through that.”

According to a Compass group representative, UNITE HERE Local 1 and Chartwells have been in negotiations for a new contract since January 2020.

Negotiations ramped up more than three weeks ago when workers voted to authorize a strike and remained terse when Compass group representatives proposed raises on a sliding scale earlier this month.

Last week, negotiations continued for two full days until union representatives and Compass reached a tentative agreement.

“I feel so good,” shop steward Isabel Avila told the DePaulia at the time. “It feels really emotional. I didn’t do it for me. I did it for everybody.”

The terms of the new agreement will take into effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Students have stood in solidarity with Chartwells workers at DePaul throughout negotiations by wearing pins, and student group DePaul Community Accountability Alliance have organized with and in support of the workers.

“We couldn’t have done this without the students,” said Le’Denise Henderson, a lead barista. “Thank you to all of the students who stood with us through this entire struggle.”