Stanford Dining workers asked to remove protest stickers

Dining hall workers at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., have been asked to remove stickers worn in protest of working conditions at the school’s dining halls, The Stanford Daily reports.  

School officials say that the stickers with the statement “Respect and a Fair Workload” go against a union-university agreement that states union members may not wear “insignia [with] any message that is vulgar, profane, or disparaging of Stanford, or that results in conflict or disruption in the workplace.”

In a conversation with The Daily, Seth Leibson, senior organizer for SEIU Local 2007 (the union representing Stanford workers), argued that the stickers’ message showed a “positive statement of our members’ vision for their workplace and the University as a whole,” and that the request for employees to remove them violated workers’ rights.  

The stickers were part of a larger push for better working conditions for dining hall employees. Staff say that issues such as understaffing have led many to be overworked, taking on extra responsibilities above their own skill set. Workers say they have previously reached out to management, who have issued verbal responses, but not actually addressed their concerns.

Stanford’s resident and dining enterprises (R&DE) spokesperson Jocelyn Breeland disagrees with the claims, saying that R&DE meets monthly with employees to discuss their concerns and works hard to recruit workers, especially those working part time, to fill full-time positions.

“R&DE holds monthly summits with union representatives to discuss the full range of issues under the collective bargaining agreement,” Breeland said in an email to The Daily. “The rumor that R&DE has refused to meet with the union outside this process is false. The claim that most disability cases are job-related is false. The allegation that management intimidates workers is false.”

In an email to The Daily this past fall, Breeland also stated that the school is making an effort to hire student workers to help operational staff in dining halls.

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