When the Sbarro franchise closed its doors last semester due to bankruptcy, students mourned the loss of a late-night dining option. However, the former employees had much more to be concerned with.
Though all the workers were reassigned, they were originally dismissed by Chartwells with no guarantee of an open position in the fall.
After members of STAND found out about the employees’ dismissals, they decided to help them retain positions on campus.
“I thought, ‘the student body is not going to like this.’ We work with them; they feed us. We don’t want people in our community treated that way,” junior Dylan Beasley said.
Throughout the summer, STAND publicized the issue around campus.
“We just went around and talked to students,” Beasley said. “At the end, students would write how they felt about the issue. Students were extremely supportive.”
The organization collected 135 individual petitions.
Students’ petitions contained strongly-worded messages to Chartwells. One of the petitions stated, “It does not make me feel comfortable as a student to see my school so readily disrespect the
loyalty of their faithful employees. Are the students next?”
At the end of the summer, STAND faxed 75 of the petitions to the offices of both Chartwells and UM President Donna E. Shalala.
“We started faxing in petitions. Within less than a week Chartwells called [STAND member] Antoine Romulus and said [to] please stop sending the petitions,” Beasley said.
After receiving the faxes, Chartwells met with STAND to discuss the issue and by the end of the summer, the employees were hired back for the fall semester.
“All of the non-supervisory hourly associates of Chartwells who were formerly placed at Sbarro have been placed in positions throughout campus that opened up this semester,” said Margot Winick, assistant vice president for media relations. “All of the associates were given priority status when the fall semester staffing process began.”
Sena, a campus employee who asked to remain anonymous, is satisfied with the decisions made.
“Right when school came back, [the workers] came in for their orientation,” she said. “They reassigned them. It was a surprise to everyone.”
Though all Sbarro members were successfully relocated, some students are still upset with Chartwells.
“We are going to keep a close eye on the conditions of Chartwells,” junior Antoine Romulus said. “Sbarros workers didn’t need to be fired like that.”