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Dining with the workers - The Vanderbilt Hustler: Opinion

Dining with the workers

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Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012 2:34 pm

Dear Chancellor Zeppos,

We, the dining workers at Vanderbilt, would like to invite you to dinner at one of our houses this summer. As you know, about 200 of us will be without work for three months and will be struggling to make rent payments and meet other living costs.

Despite how hard it will be to keep food on the table, you have an open invitation to join us for dinner to see how we live and eat during this time of hardship.

Our typical coworker in dining makes $16,500 per year. As previously noted, it is unacceptable that full-time, full-year employees cannot receive unemployment benefits. All Vanderbilt Dining employees should either be guaranteed employment during the summer or be allowed to collect unemployment benefits.

Furthermore, Vanderbilt University has not done everything in its power to assist in job placement for dining employees during the summer. Vanderbilt has made a marginal attempt, but more can and must be done. There is huge disconnect between management and staff on all levels. We believe that this can change, and we hope that coming together over food will help bridge this divide in our community.

We find that when people have a personal experience with a problem, situations become well-understood and action is often taken as a result. We are inviting you into our lives with the hope that a personal connection will allow us to work together to end poverty in Vanderbilt Dining.

A dinner together will allow us to get to know each other and find the best possible solution for all involved. We know that you will be busy with work this summer, but nearly any night will work for us. We will be available. Please RSVP by June 1. We look forward to dining with you.

Sincerely,

Your Vanderbilt Dining employees: Diana Johns, Jackie Lucas, Anne Alukonis, Lynn Hudson, Mary Anderson

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