|SEIU Local 1 Protesting Sodexo|
School Lunch giant Sodexo is guilty of gross wage, health and safety violations for its employees, according to reports by Trans Africa Forum and Human Rights Watch. Employees in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guinea, Morocco and the U.S. suffer poverty wages, high rates of workplace injuries, and risk of dismissal for union organizing. In Colombia, Sodexo served contaminated food to its own employees, giving 60 of them food poisoning.
Sodexo, with 380,000 employees in 80 countries, portrays itself as one of the most ethical multinational firms out there, a meaningless piece of propaganda when one considers that the entire purpose of being multinational is to take advantage of the lowest wages, weakest health and safety regulations, and lowest tax rates. There are no “ethical” multinational firms.
In Guinea, workers earn as little as 33 cents per hour, or just $78 per month. In the Dominican Republic, they earn only $224 per month. They have underpaid workers or refused to pay them wages owed in Colombia, Guinea, the U.S. and Morocco. In the U.S., many Sodexo employees earn so little that they qualify for federal anti-poverty programs.
|Students and SEIU Local 1 Protesting Sodexo|
The SEIU has been engaged in a long-running battle to unionize at Sodexo’s U.S. facilities. Sodexo has responded by firing organizers and interfering with the union election process. In Columbia, the company has threatened employees for union activities. In Columbia and many third world countries, unionists also risk physical assault, torture and death by paramilitaries and death squads for their union activities.
Sodexo doesn’t just score huge profits by exploiting its employees; it runs all sorts of other scams, too. Last year they agreed to pay New York a $20 million settlement after whistleblowers John and Jay Carciero showed that they were pocketing kickbacks from Kellogg’s, Pepperidge Farm and other processed food companies. These kickbacks served as incentives for Sodexo to serve this processed junk to school children throughout the U.S.