A better Tulane, a better New Orleans
Tuesday August 21st 2018

A SUCCESFUL MOVEMENT: 2 victories

At 6:45 am on Friday, April 23, 2010, Sodexo employees of Bruff Commons stood outside at the picket line, and effectively got 92% of their coworkers to go on strike, making a public statement of disapproval to Sodexo’s negligence of basic rights and respect. In spite of Sodexo management’s attempt to keep buisness going as usual by hiring temp workers, many students decided to boycott Sodexo services for the day. This was an amazing show of solidarity and a really important step for the community.

At 11:00 am, a mass of Sodexo workers from Tulane and Loyola, students from both of the universities, members of the community, and union reps marched through Bruff, the LBC, and around campus, singing, cheering and letting the cause be known. Afterwards, there were speeches from politician and community organizer James Perry, several inspiring Sodexo employees, students supporters, and others. For the rest of the day, workers, students and other supporters spent time encouraging activity in the rest of the community. There was a 13 ft. banner (supported by balloons and a TUSC member on top of a wall) at the PJs on the corner of Willow and McAlister for much of the afternoon, answering questions to interested passersby and getting more people aware of the situation. The Banner read “Tulane Menu of Exploitation. Sodexo Revenue: $20bil. President Cowen’s salary: $623,000. Sub and coke: $9.51. Ms. Joyce’s wage: $9.50.”

Separately, but no less exciting, the two demands that we (TUSC) presented to Cowen in our first letter are progressing as well! We have received written confirmation on the guarranteed right for all workers to return in the fall from Ben Hartley, Sodexo’s area manager. Workers are expected to receive this guarrantee in letter form this Friday (April 30).

Our second demand that Tulane adopt a Labor Code of Conduct is being reviewed by the Social Issues Committee. Although Cowen is still neglecting responsibility for the treatment of the workers on campus, we are definitely generating reactions. The next challenge is making sure that the progress yields true results and is not just an attempt to temper activity until the end of the semester- but our voices won’t be appeased without true change, no matter how long it takes. That said, finals are coming up and will inevitably be stressful for everyone, but once over, summer action begins. So, whether your in town or not, show support and don’t forget about the workers here in New Orleans who are going to be fighting the same fight through the summer and into the fall.

We’ve obviously got a lot ahead of us, but let’s take time to appreciate the significance of these changes, to continue in the spirit of humanity and solidarity, and most importantly, to honor the people who are courageously standing up for their own rights.

Videos, pictures and other media should be available soon!

Huge thanks to everyone who’s been present, active, spreading the word, supporting the workers and strengthening the community from within.

Anyone who is going to be in New Orleans during the summer and wants to get more involved, please contact us at email hidden; JavaScript is required!

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