Timeline leading up to 4/1 Action

The action on Friday was not a rash decision. It was a careful response to more than a month of the administration refusing to recognize our concerns, as well as those of the workers. Here is a brief recap of the events leading up to the March and Sit-In lead by the Student <-> Worker Solidarity Network on April 1st:

Week of February 15: Two Division III students meet with Mary and discuss her vision for a transition away from Bon Appetit at Hampshire. Mary mentions that she is not averse to workers forming cooperative management structure for food service at Hampshire.

February 22: Mary McEneany sends an email to Hampshire Community announcing intent to release an RFP to unnamed local vendors in order to find a new vendor to run the Kern Cafe and Bridge Cafe. This is the first that any workers hear about the transition and realize that many of their jobs are on the line.

February 23: Division III student focussing on Hampshire’s food system asks Mary who RFP will be sent to and also asks to see RFP. Mary shares RFP with the student but refuses to share the names of the 5 local vendors she intends to send the RFP to.

Week of February 29: Two students join workers at their Union meeting as they discuss the vendor transition, its impact on their jobs, and possible actions that can be taken to avoid being laid off, made to reapply for their jobs, and lose their union contract. Worker-led petition for student body is launched.

March 1: Mary meets with a small group of students to discuss transition away from Bon Appetit as well as some of her other projected changes to Hampshire’s food system (including mandatory meal plan).

Week of March 4: Workers meet with Mary, demanding that they be allowed to keep their current jobs, their current pay rates, and their current union contract. Mary refuses. Students and workers have meeting in the Bridge to plan collaborative actions.

March 10: Delegation of workers and students deliver petition with over half the student body’s signatures as well as photo petition from workers to Mary’s office. She refuses to see them. Neither workers nor students hear anything from Mary for over a week.

Week of March 21: Open letter from Dining Workers to Mary McEneany is sent to Mary and posted widely around campus. Workers meet with acting President of the College Eva Rueschmann with no tangible results. Students and workers meet to begin planning next steps. Mary finally sends response to workers after their petition delivery more than 10 days earlier.  

March 28: Mary sends email to Hampshire Community to “clarify information regarding new food service operation.”

March 29: Select group of students are brought to a tasting for the new vendor. Up to this point, the name of the vendor has not been shared with any students and this is the first involvement students have had in the RFP process.

March 29: Student <-> Worker Solidarity Network shares a response to Mary’s 3/28 email to the Community. In it, they make it clear that they are not content with her vague promises regarding the transition and that they are ready for more open dialogue, transparency, and inclusion in this process.
April 1: Over 150 Students march to Mary’s office and at least 60 stage sit-in.

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