Workers on day 5 of striking for better wages and a pension
Whittier, CA: Dining hall workers who make and serve the food for the Whittier College campus and community walked out on an indefinite strike Monday for a contract with better wages, benefits and a pension.
Following last week’s wave of strikes by Los Angeles Unified School District teachers and food service workers, dining hall workers at Whittier College are the latest to walk out for the union contract they deserve.
Many of the workers, who are predominantly people of color, earn between $17 and $18 an hour, and many have to work multiple jobs to survive. Some who have worked at Whittier College for decades have no way of retiring with dignity and face housing insecurity.
“After working for 17 years at Whittier College I only make $17 an hour. I had to move my belongings into a storage unit because I cannot afford to rent my own place,” said Daisy Machado, who works for Compass/BAMCO at Whittier College.
“I love serving the students but I am on strike because with what I make now I have to pinch pennies. Having a pension and better wages would be good for me, my family and my coworkers. We are part of the Whittier family and deserve for both Compass/BAMCO and Whittier College to value our work,” said Luis Martinez, who has worked at Whittier College for 15 years.
“I am on strike because I have to work two jobs. With what I earn working 8 months out of the year at Whittier, it is impossible for me to survive. I come here every day and give my best. I feel deeply saddened that the company is refusing to do the same for us,” said Mayra Macias, who has worked for Compass/BAMCO at Whittier College for 17 years.
“It is a huge sacrifice for me to feel like I have to choose between paying my rent or eating a meal. After working at Whittier College for 25 years I should not have to make that kind of choice. I am close to retiring, and have nothing to fall back on,” said Maria Guillen, who works for Compass/BAMCO at Whittier College dining halls.
“It is a human right to be able to provide for your family, and with the wages we are getting right now I have to choose between paying my car insurance or paying my rent. We are not asking for much, only for what is fair.” said Hector Silva, cook for Compass/BAMCO at Whittier College for 6 years.
The dining hall workers are represented by UNITE HERE Local 11 and work for Compass/Bon Appétit Management Company (BAMCO) at Whittier College, BAMCO is a subsidiary of Compass Group, the sixth largest company in the world.
Workers have been without a contract for 8 months, and no raises since 2021. Workers voted to authorize a strike a few weeks ago.