This e-mail re new Brandeis Dining Service partner Sodexo was sent to Brandeis Staff and Faculty earlier today (Thursday June the 20th)
Dear Faculty and Staff,
Brandeis University is pleased to announce that we have selected Sodexo as our new campus dining partner. Beginning July 1, 2013, Sodexo will begin managing and operating Dining Services on campus.
Sodexo’s commitment to excellent customer service, customer satisfaction, local & sustainable foods, and food-forward innovation make them a welcome addition to our campus. Their culinary team will bring a passion for fresh food and catering excellence to campus. Some of the new offerings you will see on campus will include: Starbucks, Russo’s Market, and the first Guy Fieri on Campus located in New England.
Over the coming weeks, Sodexo and Brandeis will share more specific information about meal plans, dining hours, new food formats, events and other information.
Please join me in welcoming our new Resident District Manager of Dining Services, Jay Degioia. You can reach Jay at ext. 64276 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have other questions or would like additional information, please contact Mark Collins at 64435 or email@example.com
Ellen de Graffenreid
Senior Vice President for Communications
So, this is huge! Students have been criticizing and campaigning against Aramark for years (decades?) because of the quality of their food as well as their ideological stances (human rights vi, underpaid employees, etc). Does anyone out there have opinions on/knowledge of Sodexo? Do we know what's going to be happening to the Aramark workers?
I will be researching them, feel free to comment or e-mail in tips (tips @ innermostparts.org). For now, here's the "Controversies" section of their Wikipedia page:
"There have been at least nine boycotts of Sodexo, for varying reasons: at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, at the American University in Washington D.C., and at Université Laval in Quebec City, at Binghamton University in New York, and Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, at DePauw University in Indiana, Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, at Nordea banks in Finland, at the University of Tampere, Finland and at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. At DePauw University the students protested against Sodexo's alleged low pay, former investment in private prison businesses, and the lack of local food options.
At the Nordea banks the issue was a cut in wages after Sodexo took over the bank's workplace food services. After a successful boycott, the wages were raised.
In 2009, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) launched a United States nationwide campaign against Sodexo with their stated objective of improving wage and job standards. In 2010, the SEIU recruited students at many U.S. colleges to support strikes and demonstrations in protest of Sodexo's alleged unfair labor practices including anti-union behavior and paying low wages.  Although one series of strikes at the University of Pittsburgh led to the negotiation of higher wages and lower cost health insurance plans for the cafeteria workers, none of the Sodexo accounts targeted by the SEIU have unionized or even requested an election vote. According to a statement from Sodexo, the SEIU engaged in a smear campaign in an effort to drive out rival labor unions that have traditionally operated in the foodservice industry as well as for general publicity.
Sodexo filed a lawsuit in March 2011 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act accusing the SEIU of "engaging in illegal tactics in its effort to unionize workers". During the trial, it was revealed that the SEIU had written and distributed a manual to its staff detailing how “outside pressure can involve jeopardizing relationships between the employer and lenders, investors, stockholders, customers, clients, patients, tenants, politicians, or others on whom the employer depends for funds.” Tactics recommended include references to blackmail, extortion, accusations of racism and sexism, and targeting the homes and neighborhoods of business leaders for demonstrations. Following the court discovery of this document, SEIU agreed to terminate their public campaign focused on Sodexo and the charges against SEIU were dropped.
In May 2011, 27 University of Washington students were arrested during a sit in at the University's administrative offices for protesting the University's concessions contract with Sodexo.Shortly after, on May 19, another 13 students were arrested under similar circumstances.
All of the frozen beef products used by Sodexo in the UK were withdrawn on 22 February 2013 following the discovery of horse DNA in a sample. The company supplies 2,300 institutions, including schools, old-age people homes, prisons and branches of the armed forces within the UK."
One response to “Aramark Loses Its Mark – Brandeis Dining to Be Headed Up By Sodexo starting July”
Hey I went to Binghamton as an undergrad and actively campaigned against Sodexho while I was there. At the time, the contract for the Sodexho workers had expired and was up for negotiation; the workers (who were already underpaid) had to deal with strongarming from superiors, misinformation, blockage from unionization, and a lack of presence at negotiations, among other things. I know little about Aramark, but Sodexho came to represent, for students at least, an exploitative group that served to further privatize services at the expense of workers and students. I cannot remember if this is related to Sodexho, but Binghamton also had an exclusive beverage contract with Coca-Cola, which is a whole other issue. Also can't remember whether Brandeis is like that, though I do recall that the PODS had all different kinds of beverages, iunno.
Mainly, I guess I wouldn't see the switch in food service provider as a step towards any type of social justice, I mean I'm like 99% sure it's to save money somehow.