Monthly Archives: March 2017

Open Letter on SFU Cafeteria Workers

March 13 2017

Dear President Petter,

On Friday, March 10, food service workers at SFU waited at the Diamond Alumni Centre for 45 minutes for representatives of SFU new food services provider, Sodexo, to show up for a meeting. Sodexo stood the workers up. When it became clear that reps from Sodexo would not show to the meeting, the workers, who received termination notices in February, were understandably distressed. Having received no commitment they would maintain their jobs, their union, or their contract from either the university or Sodexo, workers then decided to march to Strand Hall to see whether they might receive any assurances from you. You refused to meet them.

Under your leadership, SFU has branded itself as a socially compassionate and “engaged” institution. Yet in awarding the contract to Sodexo and not requiring successorship as part of the deal—which would have guaranteed workers their jobs, their union, and their contract—decisions taken at senior levels of the administration have imperilled the livelihoods and injured the dignity of some of the most vulnerable workers on our campus. While senior management in the upper echelons of the university administration make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year (partly thanks to contracts like Sodexo’s), these workers are among the lowest paid on campus. They have been forced to fight hard for whatever meagre security they used to have. Many have worked at SFU for decades, and most earn $16-$18 an hour (less than a living wage). More than half of these workers are women, a number of them are immigrants, and many are people of colour. If our university is genuinely committed to lifting people out of poverty, we need to start with workers in our community. As you yourself recently said, speaking at the “We are all SFU” event, it is “our common resolve to foster a university environment in which all members of our community feel valued and supported.”

You have the power to intervene and do the right thing, to make this statement more than mere rhetoric. Show us that you care. The university needs to see some “engagement” from you on this file.



Daniel Ahadi, Communication

Robert Anderson, Communication

Ian Angus, Humanities

Ronda Arab, English

Yıldız Atasoy, Sociology

Jody Baker, Communication

Sam Black, Philosophy

Catherine Black, French

Nicholas Blomley, Geography

Enda Brophy, School of Communication

Jakub Burkowics, Sociology and Anthropology

John Calvert, Health Sciences

Elise Chenier, History

Marjorie Cohen, Political Science/Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Stephen Collis, English

Marela Dichupa, Education

Milena Droumeva, Communication

Samir Gandesha, Humanities

Carla Graebner, Librarian for Research Data Services and Government Information

Patricia Gruben, Contemporary Arts

Rick Gruneau, Communication

Robert Hackett, Communication

John-Henry Harter, History and Labour Studies

Holly Hendrigan, Liaison Librarian, Applied Sciences

Helen Hok-Sze Leung, Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies

Barry Honda, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Chris Jeschelnik, Communication

Sharon Koehn, Gerontology

Ena Lee, Education

Mark Leier, History

Carolyn Lesjak, English

Andrew Mack, International Studies

Gary McCarron, Communication

Kirsten McAllister, School Communication

Eugene McCann, Geography

Geoff Mann, Geography

Tamir Moustafa, International Studies

Gerardo Otero, International Studies

Roxanne Panchasi, History

Christopher Pavsek, School of Contemporary Arts

Stacy Pigg, Anthropology

Tony Power, Bennett Library

Lynne Quarmby, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Michael T Schmitt, Psychology

Jamie Scott, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry/Health Sciences

Ozlem Sensoy, Education

Malcolm Steinberg, Health Sciences

Kendra Strauss, Labour Studies Program

Rochelle Tucker, Health Sciences

Michele Valiquette, English

Habiba Zaman, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies