Union President Weighs In on Sodexo Decision
Yesterday, the Collegian spoke with Robert Smith, president of UE (United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America) Local 712, Kenyon’s maintenance union. Here’s some of what he had to say about the College’s decision, his union’s reaction and their upcoming negotiations:
We hadn’t heard any rumors. We were never approached by the company saying they were thinking about doing this or anything. It was just kind of dumped in our lap.
A lot of our guys have been here for a long time, and they’re just sickened by it. Sickened to the point that you have a problem putting one foot in front of the other.
It’s just shocking to me that they would even invite a company like that on campus to give them a quote in the first place.
We’re assuming, at least, that we’re looking at deep cuts to benefits and wages through Sodexo. I don’t see how else this company can come in here and save the College the kind of money that Mark Kohlman says they’re going to save unless it’s through cuts.
The College has never really listened to the Union when we try to give advice — how you can do things better, how you can save money. But I’m hoping that since it’s other people speaking up now, alumni speaking up, maybe they’ll have to listen to them.
Certainly a lot of our guys are talking about [it]: If this is the way Kenyon feels about us and the way they treat their employees, they don’t want to work here anymore.
I’m just disappointed that I’ve been here 27 years and all I’ve ever heard is how Kenyon is a community and how each person, even us people down there in the maintenance department, are part of this community and valuable.