Finally, Leo’s workers can truly enjoy a seat at the table.

Dining Services employees, with the support of students and faculty, worked tirelessly for over 10 months to gain respect and better working conditions through unionization and contract negotiations with their employer, Aramark Higher Education. Last week, the union reached a preliminary agreement with Aramark that offers tangible benefits for the people who work so hard to serve us.

If approved, the tentative agreement reached by the union’s negotiating committee — which represents workers in Leo’s, the Jesuit Residence, Cosi, Starbucks and the Pre-Clinical Building’s Dr. Mug — would provide union members with a 50-cent-per-year wage increase and 80 to 85 percent health coverage over the next three years.

Employees at the dining hall have always been kind, helpful and interested in the student body, and they have a right to the health and wage benefits included in their new contract.

The contract is also important for the university as a whole, because it reaffirms the school’s commitment to fair employment. By joining in support of lunchtime demonstrations and assisting in the contract negotiation process, students and faculty took service and social justice beyond the classroom and into their community.

Students can and should be proud of what Dining Services employees have accomplished.

While we may be encouraged here to cause change on a global level, the development of the union through worker initiative and student activism is a reminder that we can affect positive social change right here at Georgetown.

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