The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Conversation about caf employee treatment starved

I was delighted to return from a semester abroad in London to a new food provider. I was very hopeful when Meriwether Godsey was chosen because I wanted a food provider that adheres to Guilford’s core values of equality, diversity and just social awareness and of course quality and a better selection in food. As an active news writer for the Guilfordian, I had been following closely the developments that led to hiring Meriwether Godsey, and since, I have been trying to monitor the concerns that were raised about Sodexho and how they have been addressed or not addressed by our new food provider. Last year I wrote three articles that track the process.

These articles helped put things in perspective and reminded our community of the importance of holding our dining providers accountable to the promises that they made by signing the contract and by choosing to work with Guilford-a Quaker school, guided by Quaker core values. I keep these ideals in mind when critiquing Meriwether Godsey’s progress, services and the treatment of workers.

The first three factors are simple and can be monitored fairly easily.

When it comes to food quality, variety and environmental sustainability, Meriwether Godsey surpasses Sodexho by far. This is generally undisputed. While there is always room for improvement, I am satisfied by Meriwether Godsey’s food simply because it is better than Sodexho’s.

I will leave food and renovation issues for a different article because monitoring them is easy.

However, when it comes to monitoring and critiquing concerns about workers’ rights, I am faced with several fundamental barriers that put a halt to my research or at the very least, slow it down immensely.

This year I am faced with the same limitations that I was faced with when I was trying to cover articles on Sodexho’s treatment of workers: the dining staff is not comfortable discussing this issue because their jobs could be in jeopardy if they say anything unfavorable about Meriwether Godsey.

Last year the dining staff was officially restricted from talking to reporters, which made holding Sodexho accountable for their racist and unfair practices almost impossible. Likewise, determining the degree to which these practices were happening and those responsible for them was extremely difficult.

Those who are willing to have these conversations with community members or reporters about these issues must remain anonymous, and rightfully so. Race issues are even more sensitive and warrant a fear of expression that is even more intense.

The best I can do is to observe.

I am concerned by the long lines (especially at the grill) that undoubtedly put great pressure on the staff. Based on my observations and discussion with students, I have concluded that there is a problem with under-staffing.

I am also concerned with the long hours that many workers put in.

I have concluded that the dining staff is over-worked.

I am not alone in my observations.

Many of the anonymous comments left at the grill addressed these issues: “Thank you all for working so hard. We know the hours can be hard but be really do appreciate it!” wrote one student. Another wrote, “Thank you for everything you do and sorry for those who don’t appreciate the time you put in. We love you.”

The cycle of silence and intimidation (whether intentional or not) is very problematic and it has been and still is an inevitable barrier when it comes to holding employers accountable and ensuring the happiness of the workers and the fairness and equality in their treatment.

This cycle needs to be broken. However, the means by which it is to be broken are up for debate.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Guilfordian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *