Bon Appetit’s management has not been responsive lately regarding the concerns of their workers, who say that they are not receptive to anxieties about health of the workers and students in Lower Farinon’s facilities and have a dismissive tone when workers try to communicate with the management.
“They made it such a miserable work environment,” an anonymous source that works in Lower Farinon said. “They’re not helping anybody out.”
Several workers agreed to discuss conditions under Bon Appetit’s new management. All asked to remain anonymous, however, because they said they feared for their jobs.
“There’s absolutely no communication whatsoever,” another employee said.
The workers that were interviewed had a lot of concerns about different aspects of Bon Appetit’s management, one of them being the food court’s cleanliness and how the management is unresponsive to requests for new cleaning equipment.
“It boils down to, ‘this place is filthy [and] nasty,’” one source said. “It smells like throw up where you wash the dishes at because the garbage disposal been broke [sic] for two months.”
“Been broke [sic] longer than that, been broke since we got here,” another employee said. “Since school started.”
Another one of their concerns was with potentially unsafe food preparation, which could lead to health problems, they said.
“They wanted to do grilled peanut butter and jelly,” another employee said. “You’re putting peanut butter on a grill that presses down, [but what if someone has] a peanut allergy?”
“We try to tell them [what could possibly go wrong] ‘cause we worked here,” the employee continued.
“That grill is constantly going to be contaminated with the peanut oil, and somebody could get seriously ill,” another worker said.
Employees also said that they feel that they themselves are not being treated well by Bon Appetit.
“My biggest scrape is, I am a grown man,” a source said. “I show you respect, I expect to be treated with respect. I go out of my way to do a good job, I expect them to meet me at least halfway.”
When asked about relations with the workers, Bon Appetit General Manager Joel Blice said that Bon Appetit has an open-door policy and that they are always willing to hear worker’s concerns.
“It’s very common knowledge that anyone can come talk to me about any issue,” Blice said.
But workers said they felt betrayed when they were blamed for the meal equivalency mix-up that The Lafayette reported. In that report, Blice said that it was a cashier in Lower who caused the miscommunication, saying that he did not know “if she was giving out wrong information or if she didn’t really understand what the program was.” This was not true, according to the workers.
“What he said was not true,” an employee said. “We didn’t misconstrue anything, that’s exactly what [the café manager] told me. Then, when it all came out to boil, the kids were saying to me, ‘This isn’t right,’ I said, ‘Honey, here’s your card, email her.’”
“It’s a very convoluted story. Right now I feel it’s resolved,” Blice said when asked about the quote. “I will stand by my quote. I mean, there were a number of miscommunications, I know that, but again, my goal is not to pin fault or blame on anyone.”
After Blice’s discussion about worker relations, one of the sources said that when workers came in in the morning, the kitchen and dining area was extremely clean. Along with that, the workers had heard that they were getting a new vacuum cleaner for the dining area, a tool that they said they needed to ensure the area was hygienic.
“It was nice when we walked in the door,” the source said. “The floors were clean, there was no grease all over…it was just, it was nice.”