Dining and Hospitality Services plans to have an agreement with Bon Appétit Management Company by July 1, 2011. Some workers are voicing concern over a potential loss of retirement and health care plans, along with other benefits, said Brian DeKoninck, president of the Albion College Education Support Association (ACESA), a union in which full-time dining and hospitality employees are members.
“We’ve made it clear to Bon Appétit Management Company that current Albion employees must be an important part of any future relationship,” said Todd Tekiele, director of Dining and Hospitality Services.
Full-time Dining and Hospitality employees are at risk of losing retirement plans, current health care plans, employee tuition remission, and depending on the negotiations, other working conditions, benefits, and life insurance packages under the new management, DeKoninck said.
“There’s going to be some major changes,” said Missy Webb, Dining and Hospitality Services cook and part of the negotiation team, a medium between the college and Bon Appétit Management Company that reports to administration. “I don’t know if they’re all going to be positive changes.”
There are approximately 70 employees that could be affected by the potential change in management, including full-time, part-time and salaried employees.
“We identified Bon Appétit as a potential partner whose values align with those of Albion College,” Tekiele said. “What we learned is that they have a well-deserved reputation for providing outstanding food.”
ACESA offered the negotiating team several proposals to help keep benefits for union employees; the first proposal was rejected, DeKoninck said.
The current counterproposal is for Bon Appétit Management Company to be brought in for management and to operate food service operations. However, full-time employees would remain Albion employees, DeKoninck said.
“Everything is an option,” Tekiele said. “We’re listening to the union. We’re listening to the management company. We haven’t concluded how it may end, but we’re listening and considering the options. We’re hoping for a win-win situation for everyone.”
Tekiele said the college responded to feedback, including various surveys and conducted extensive research as it considered ways to improve campus dining. Dining and Hospitality Services hopes Bon Appétit Management Company will help Albion achieve goals of more nutritious and sustainable foods.
DeKoninck said there is a reason for distrust between administration and ACESA.
“Lately, lack of communication and lack of partnering with the employees has lowered that trust level significantly and now with the talks of outsourcing (management), the trust level is much lower,” DeKoninck said. “We realize that the College is struggling financially, but we have not been brought in to help seek solutions together.”