Community Support Ends Chartwells Labor Dispute

Anne Bouthilette ‘10

Contributing Writer

October 16, 2007

The dispute over a reduction in hours for many Chartwells employees has finally been resolved, thanks in part to the help of concerned faculty and students. The discussion started a few weeks ago with an email sent out to students and faculty in response to a statement released by Chartwells.

“On Wednesday, Oct. 3, Leonard Nalencz of Unite Here called me to report that the management had agreed to reverse many of the schedule changes and limit the cut in collective hours to 60,” said James Murphy ’08, one of the students spearheading the student protests.

For many students, the knowledge that Chartwells employees, many of whom have been working at Trinity for decades, would face a reduction in hours led to an immediate reaction to lend their support. Through rallies and with the help of student representatives such as Murphy and Student Government Association President Andrew Pedro ’08, the students made their voices heard and also played an active role in helping to ensure the best situation possible for Chartwells employees.

According to Pedro, the realization “that the information available to the public was not necessarily correct” made a large impact in his decision to become actively involved.

Pedro and other students involved in the situation have been given information both from the Trinity administration and from Chartwells. When the dispute between Chartwells management and their employees was first introduced to the students, there was a lot of confusion as to what exactly was happening. In part to help students understand what was happening, and also to make sure that the student body was included in the process, the administration was contacted and the real situation was revealed to Pedro. Due to the misinformation that was circulating, “most people thought the situation was a lot worse than it in fact was.” This prompted Pedro to send an e-mail to the student body alerting them of all that he knew. 

The agreement that has thus far been reached is a much smaller reduction in hours than originally indicated. In an email to faculty, Professor Sarah Raskin wrote that, “after first threatening to cut 400 hours, then 200, the company has now agreed to cut only 50-60 hours total.” In addition to the reduction in total number of hours cut, Chartwells still maintains, as Pedro included in his email to students, that all Chartwells employees will retain their full benefits. The heavy involvement of students and faculty members has played a significant role in helping to resolve the dispute between Chartwells and their employees; however, the degree to which some groups on campus, such as faculty, students, and the Chartwells employees have representation continues to be a big question.

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