Compass reschedules negotiations with NU dining workers, students continue to advocate for campus staff


Onyekaorise Chigbogwu/Daily Senior Staffer

Students have worn buttons to show support for campus workers throughout the week.

Isabel Funk and Waverly Long

Compass Group delayed Friday’s negotiations with dining workers, according to an organizer from the union representing Compass workers, UNITE HERE Local 1. 

Compass notified workers of the delay Thursday night. The decision comes just over a week after Northwestern dining and services workers voted to authorize a strike from Compass.

Compass will soon reschedule the meeting for the coming weeks, Compass Group District Marketing Manager Sophia Bamiatzis said in an email to The Daily. Compass didn’t answer The Daily’s requests as to why they rescheduled the meeting. 

Leading up to negotiations, Students Organizing for Labor Rights and Northwestern University Graduate Workers have continued advocating for NU dining and services workers.

NU Graduate Workers organized a demonstration at the Kellogg School of Management Friday morning in support of campus workers. At the action, around a dozen graduate students were met with officers from Allied Universal, a security company contracted by the University. The officers attempted to prevent the students from entering the building, according to a fourth-year Ph.D. student who wished to remain anonymous.

According to the graduate student, administrators said they worried the demonstration posed a “threat” to Kellogg and could disrupt examinations should the students move inside the building. The graduate student expressed skepticism toward the claim, considering it is the second week of the quarter.

“(Security officers) said only Kellogg students can go in there… (but) they just looked at students that came and said they were not Kellogg students without checking any ID, because they were wearing the buttons that said ‘I love campus workers,'” the graduate student said.

In a statement to The Daily, NUGW Co-Chair Ph.D. candidate Julie Ming Liang said the security guards let other people in through the front entrance who did not scan in as Kellogg students.

The graduate students expressed they only wanted to speak with campus workers and show appreciation, Liang said, and after 20 minutes of negotiation, administrators and security escorted the students to the cafeteria in Kellogg through a back door.

The students had lunch and spoke with campus workers to express their support before leaving. The fourth-year Ph.D. student said he felt the action was overall successful.

“The campus workers felt appreciated when we showed up, and that was the main goal,” he said. “We hope they succeed in their negotiations and get the raise that they deserve.”

After the lunch, Liang said, a security guard attempted to physically stop the students from exiting out of the front entrance before ultimately letting them leave.

Liang said she felt the way the administrators and security officers treated the students discourages student activism.

“We are disappointed that Northwestern leadership would take such an aggressive stance toward their own students who wanted to eat lunch and support Compass service workers,” Liang wrote to The Daily. “This event reveals a concerning desire on the part of Northwestern to suppress grassroots labor movements and underlines the importance of standing with service workers in their demands.”

She added that NUGW had a similar event to show solidarity with campus workers at Norris on Wednesday. Though this action was also publicized, no security personnel were present.

Students across campus have been advocating for campus workers throughout the week as well. On Wednesday, when dining workers began wearing buttons that read “I don’t want to strike, but I will,” SOLR distributed buttons to students that read “I <3 CAMPUS WORKERS.” 

“All of the workers that saw students wearing them were so uplifted — they felt very supported by the student body with that visible sign of support, and it meant a lot to the workers,” SESP junior and SOLR member Neva Legallet said.

SOLR received 2,400 buttons from the UNITE HERE Local 1, around 2,000 of which they distributed to undergraduate students on the Evanston campus, according to Legallet. Volunteers took the remaining buttons to the Chicago campus and to graduate students.

In the coming weeks, SOLR will continue supporting dining workers, taking direction from the union, Legallet said.

“SOLR is going to do whatever workers need us to do,” Legallet said. “We work in solidarity with them, and we take our lead from whatever workers need from us. It’s not our movement to direct, it’s our movement to support and organize with (them).”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @isabeldfunk

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @waverly_long

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