Unionized GMU workers report wage increase
The 200 Sodexo food service workers will receive an average 12% pay hike.
More than 200 Sodexo food service workers at Fairfax-based George Mason University will see an average 12% wage increase as a result of the workers’ first ratified union contract with New York-based labor union Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ, the union announced Monday.
Under the agreement that expires June 2024 for food service workers including cashiers, bakers, cooks, catering workers, utility workers, drivers and receivers, employer contributions to health insurance premiums will increase to 80%. Hourly wages, which now range from $10 to $23 will increase to a range of $13 to $25.
“I have to pay most of the expenses for my family and this new contract will help me a lot with mortgage, electricity, water and tuition for my son who is studying at the GMU,” GMU cook Juana Rubio said in a statement. She will see her wages increase from $13.47 to $15.25 in the first year of the contract, according to 32BJ SEIU.
Part-time workers will receive three paid holidays and will also start getting 15-minute paid breaks.
“The men and women who work hard to keep GMU students fed proved that collective action has the power to improve jobs and lives,” 32BJ SEIU Vice President Jaime Contreras said in a statement. “This contract is a smart investment in GMU and its community by protecting good jobs that help workers better afford the fast-increasing cost of living in Northern Virginia.”
Founded in 1977, 32BJ SEIU has more than 175,000 members in 11 states in Northeast region. Members are primarily cleaners, property maintenance workers, doormen, security officers, window cleaners, building engineers, airport workers and school and food service workers. More than 6,000 32BJ SEIU workers live and work in Northern Virginia.
“The contract will put my mind at ease knowing that we can finally speak up for ourselves and because I will have a few extra dollars in case I need it,” said Sandra Villanueva, a cashier at GMU.