UMES Students Protest Potential Food Service Changes - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

UMES Students Protest Potential Food Service Changes



PRINCESS ANNE, Md.-Some University of Maryland Eastern Shore students were upset on Wednesday saying that their cafeteria could be seeing potential changes in who serves them food. 

In a protest including some cafeteria workers and members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees the group chanted " save our jobs, no lay offs." That's because there are talks the college may do away with it's in-house food service. 

The university has been running it's own food service system for nearly 20 years and is one of three Maryland institutions to operate this way.

Bill Robinson who is the Director of Public Relations said that the campus is possibly looking into bringing in a private food vendor as a way to saving money.

"Food service is self supporting where no public tax dollars are used," Robinson said, "we are looking for efficiencies and if going the private sector route is more effective then that's the way we will go."

"If they do bring this entity then a lot of people who work in the cafeteria are going to lose their jobs", said Paul Jerry who is a senior at the college and was protesting on Wednesday.

Jeff Pittman who is with AFSCME said that the potential changes could impact nearly 70 cafeteria workers and more than 30 student workers.

"I don't know if you know but our university pretty much funds a lot of our surrounding communities," said Jerry, "our population in our community outweighs the population in Princess Anne so a lot of people that live in Princess Anne, work here at our college and if we can't give them support to sustain their living then we are not doing them any justice."

Joseph Nixon who has been a campus dishwasher for nearly 30 years was also part of the protest group.

He and the group even took the message to Dr. Juliette Bell's office who was out of the office that day.

Nixon said that if the university decides to make changes in the cafeteria then that is unfair to him and many other long time employees. 

"I have done my job, but I have done other people's job too, so I feel that I should be able to keep my job," Nixon said.
Robinson said that the campus hopes to have a final decision sometime before Christmas.

Robinson added that if a private food vendor decides to take over the operations, then it is required to interview or at least consider a current cafeteria employee for a job.


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