There has been a lot of promulgation of the “Clean Up Sodexo” project on the Internet of late. This project, initiated by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), is meant to raise awareness of the many issues that Sodexo allegedly hides.
According to cleanupsodexo.org, Sodexo’s workforce lacks access to affordable heathcare, faces racial discrimination, and fear retribution when reporting concerns. The company also supposedly fails to provide nutritious meals.
Sophomore Lydia Hubble agrees with this last allegation, and says, “The food is cold and high in cholesterol. It feels like I’m biting into fat whenever I’m eating anything.”
Sodexo’s website emphasizes the company’s commitment to helping college students make healthy eating deicisions. “Sodexo is proud that it uses zero trans fat oils for all frying in our campus locations,” claimswww.sodexousa.com.
Nonetheless, McDaniel students overwhelmingly harbor negative feelings about the food offered in Englar Dining Hall.
“The food sucks and is too expensive, but I do not blame that on the employees,” says freshman Ashlynn Parker. “The [Sodexo] workers at McDaniel seem pretty happy, so I don’t know if they face problems here.”
According to the SEIU, some Sodexo workers cannot afford the health insurance that the company offers. Also cited are examples of wage theft, discrimination lawsuits, and unsafe working conditions.
Tom Mackall, Vice President of Employee and Corporate Relations at Sodexo, posted a blog as a rebuttal to the “Clean Up Sodexo” campaign. He says that the SEIU is blaming the impact of many unrelated issues on Sodexo, which is misleading.
“Many independent organizations recognize Sodexo for its success in creating a diverse and inclusive work environment,” said Mackall.
He also explains that Sodexo workers earn wages that are “competitive within the industry,” and employees have access to a variety of health plans to meet their needs.
According to Dr. Ethan Seidel, Vice President of Finance and Administration at McDaniel College, Sodexo employees get the same raises at the same times as McDaniel employees in the same jobs. He explains that Sodexo is “just paid a flat fee to manage our food services. There’s no profit incentive to cut corners.”
Parker says, “I’d be very upset if [the claims against Sodexo] were true, because the workers try to connect with the students. They are kind of like family.”