More Sodexo workers win raises in excess of 40 percent

NewsAugust 27, 2018

More than 100 NUHW-represented Sodexo workers won contracts that will boost many of their paychecks by more than 40 percent over the next 16 months.

The three-year contracts won by Sodexo workers at Los Alamitos Medical Center and Lakewood Medical Center will increase minimum hourly wages from as little as $11 at both hospitals to $13. Minimum hourly wages will jump to $14.84 at the beginning of 2019 and $15.61 in 2020. The contract covers housekeepers and cafeteria workers who work at hospitals owned by Tenet Healthcare, but have their work subcontracted to Sodexo, a French conglomerate notorious for paying poverty wages.

“Earning more money and paying less for health insurance will make a big difference for my family,” said Edith Gutierrez,  who works at Los Alamitos. “I’m proud of my coworkers for sticking together and standing our ground against Sodexo.”

The contracts, ratified in August, mark our latest victory against Sodexo.

Earlier this year, the University of Southern California, facing mounting public and political pressure, agreed to stop contracting with Sodexo for workers at its Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. For the nearly 50 workers, becoming direct USC employees resulted $3-per-hour raises, free family HMO health insurance, and a retirement plan with a 5 percent employer contribution.

In June, Sodexo workers at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital — the largest for-profit hospital in Orange County — agreed to a three-year contract with terms roughly identical to those approved this month by workers at Los Alamitos and Lakewood.

The contracts also include wage scales, which will provide additional raises as workers gain experience. Additionally, workers at Los Alamitos will pay half as much for health insurance premiums — the same rate previously achieved by Lakewood workers.

“For too long highly profitable Southern California hospitals have used subcontractors like Sodexo to deny workers a fair deal,” NUHW President Sal Rosselli said. “The unity of our members sent a clear message that they will no longer be exploited by mega corporations intent on maximizing profits at the expense of our communities.”

During contract talks, NUHW highlighted how Sodexo and Tenet Healthcare stand to save tens of millions of dollars from the Trump corporate tax cut, yet were refusing to devote any of those funds for worker raises. Sodexo workers at Los Alamitos and Lakewood had both voted to form picket lines shortly before reaching a settlement.