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College and Bon Appetit management concerned by changes

November 4, 2013 at 9:35 pm

On Friday, Bon Appetit employees at Beloit College were informed of changes being implemented by BA's parent company, Compass Group, that will render some employees ineligible for previously held benefits. This impacts a number of Beloit's food service workers-- and Bon Appetit staff across the country.

On Monday morning, Dean of Students Christina Klawitter updated senior staff on the announcement by Compass Group, which owns and operates Bon Appetit, regarding plans to change how Compass Group classifies employees. Currently, staff that regularly (but not always) work 30 hours or more each week are classified as full time, and are therefore offered health benefits and vacation days. Because food service workers at the college work sporadic schedules during college breaks, several of the food service workers on campus will now--under the new, more restrictive accounting process just announced--be considered part time and therefore ineligible for such benefits.

"This is very concerning," Klawitter says. "These individuals are important members of our community. We cannot help but be concerned for them as friends and colleagues. But I'm also concerned about the prospect of losing some of them to other opportunities, and the impact that could have on our campus."

Klawitter and Associate Dean John Winkelmann believe that more than a dozen Bon Appetit workers at Beloit would be impacted by this change. Of those, as many as 10 currently make use of BA-supplied health care.

Klawitter says she's spoken with Ken Hnilo, the general manager of Beloit's Bon Appetit program, as well as a district manager for Bon Appetit, and has been very encouraged by their reactions to the news and ideas about how to contend with these changes. President Scott Bierman, who was on the road on Monday and not in the senior staff meeting, has also already reached out to other presidents at Bon Appetit institutions to see what sort of solutions are being considered.

Stay tuned to the Terrarium for more updates as this situation develops.