Penn: Support ALL Penn Workers and Their Families!
On March 17, 2020, Bon Appetit Management Company announced mass layoff of subcontracted campus dining hall workers. While Penn has made numerous efforts to accommodate other faculty, staff, and students during the escalating Coronavirus public health crisis, these members of the Penn family have been left without options for supporting themselves and their families through the next several months. Even more alarmingly, when activity resumes on campus and dining staff return to their jobs, dining staff will owe the company more than a thousand dollars in health insurance payments from the months of unexpected lost work.
No worker should have to choose between thousands of dollars of debt and access to health insurance during a global health crisis.
We are deeply concerned that these 140 workers will lose their income while other university employees continue to receive their salaries and benefits. That’s 140 households in our city that will not be able to make their rent, pay their utilities and buy their groceries by the end of the month. Penn claims that Bon Appetit, its contractor for these sites, is making this decision. But Penn has an endowment in the multi-billions. Its president Amy Gutmann makes $4 million a year. Clearly if it wants to, Penn has the resources to work with Bon Appetit to guarantee that these 140 workers keep their jobs in this time of crisis.
Penn is an Ivy League university, the largest employer in the city. Penn has the economic and intellectual resources to take the lead in demonstrating how to respond to this crisis: not just by protecting the privileged few, but everyone. Instead of sidestepping its responsibility to support the entire Penn community, Penn has a moral and ethical imperative stand with its workers. We call on Penn to maintain payroll and health insurance for every worker on campus as we all do our best to care for our families and our loved ones.