This week, in attempts to explore employee relocation, we made attempts to interview Bon Appétit workers. We had initially been approached by a worker whose campus work location had been moved and who was dissatisfied with a management decision preceding that, and through more research, we learned other employees were dissatisfied as well. We were trying to figure out what the reason for their relocation was, and trying to bring awareness to their dissatisfaction.
We approached three workers, including the one who initially spoke to us. Two of them requested anonymity, out of fear of losing their jobs because of a confidentiality agreement in their contracts. The last source said very little on the record for the same reason. Even when giving us anonymous quotes, workers were hesitant to speak openly about management and working conditions at Bon Appétit.
We also tried to get quotes from Bon Appétit General Manager Joel Blice about why these employees were relocated. After an unreturned call, one of our writers emailed him to ask him if he’d be willing to answer a couple questions over the phone. He responded, saying he was willing to answer questions only after receiving an email containing what we were going to ask him. When asked those questions, Mr. Blice responded with a brief statement about how Bon Appétit enjoys serving the Lafayette community, how their workers are very skilled at and dedicated to their jobs. In essence, he failed to answer our questions.
His statement ended with this: “We sometimes will move our employees between cafés in order to best meet the staffing needs of that café. We always want to have our employees in an environment where they can be the most successful. I’m afraid company policy does not permit me to comment with regard to specific employees.”
Bon Appétit employees should not have to live in fear of losing their jobs because they provide information about their work environment to the newspaper. Management declining to comment in person or over the phone, and then not fully answering the questions asked over email, is unacceptable. We, along with the rest of the student body, have a right to know what changes are being made to a catering company that is here to serve us, and the workers have the right to open discourse with The Lafayette, Bon Appétit, and the rest of the Lafayette community.