* UNITE HERE Local 1 represents approximately 15,000 hospitality workers and casino workers in the Chicago area, including a couple of dozen workers at the Thompson Center food court. From a press release…
Today, food service workers at Great State Fare in the Thompson Center are calling on Governor Quinn to protect their jobs. Sodexo, the food service company that employs Great State Fare workers, is leaving its post at the State of Illinois building putting all 29 workers’ jobs at risk, some who have worked at the cafeteria for over two decades. Layoffs are expected to begin in the coming days. Workers are rallying outside of the State of Illinois building, home of Governor Pat Quinn’s Chicago office.
Sodexo workers at Great State Fare have recently ratified a collective bargaining agreement that improves their wages. The new contract would bring the lowest paid worker up to $10.35 an hour – more than the minimum wage increase to $10.00 that the Governor has been advocating. Yet, as the company plans to leave in the coming weeks, workers will not make it to the wage increase they’ve bargained for.
“Just as we’re about to make a more livable wage, we’re losing our jobs,” said Maria Sanchez, Sodexo worker at Great State Fare. “I’ve been able to rely on this job to support my family for over 20 years. But, now, I don’t even know if I will have job next week.”
In Illinois, a full-time worker earning the state minimum wage of $8.25 an hour makes approximately $17,000, which is far below the Federal Poverty Threshold of $19,790 for a family of three. By increasing the minimum wage to just $10.00, those that earn the current minimum wage would make an extra $4,800 a year.
Should Quinn intervene?