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Sept. 15 — Contract food service workers at Intel Corp.'s Santa Clara, Calif., headquarters approved UNITE HERE to be their collective bargaining representative, according to a National Labor Relations Board regional office.
The cafeteria workers, employed by Charlotte, N.C.-based Eurest, Sept. 14 voted 31-12 for UNITE HERE Local 19, according to NLRB Region 32.
The winning bid comes after Eurest became the latest food service contractor at the technology company’s corporate campus in March.
Eurest replaced Guckenheimer Enterprises Inc., which in November 2014 hired all new workers instead of the existing union-represented ones employed by a former food service contractor.
The NLRB election also comes after Local 19 filed unfair labor practice charges with the federal agency against Eurest on May 23, in addition to requesting the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health to take enforcement actions against the food service contractor, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg BNA then.
The documents accused Eurest officials of rescinding wage promises, disciplining workers for trying to organize and violating Cal/OSHA regulations regarding bathroom breaks.
Eurest “complies with all applicable labor and employment laws,” Lore Postman, a spokeswoman for Compass Group North America, said in a written statement May 23. Eurest is a division of Compass Group North America.
The company in a written statement to Bloomberg BNA Sept. 15 said it has always “respected the legal right of its employees to make an informed decision concerning whether or not to be represented by a third party in matters concerning their terms & conditions of employment.” The statement added that Eurest is looking forward to reaching a labor contract that is a “mutually acceptable agreement.”
The sides reached a conformed settlement agreement regarding the unfair labor practice charges Aug. 31, according to the NLRB website.
Local 19’s efforts to organize the workers also included attempts to have Intel executives help with organizing Eurest employees. Intel officials have told Bloomberg BNA the company doesn’t get involved in contractor employee relations.
Since Intel’s cafeteria workers started organizing themselves in January, they have attained some job protections, 20 percent raises in pay and free individual health care, the union said in a written statement Sept. 14.
The NLRB election adds to the improvements, Monica Moreno, an Intel cafeteria cashier said in a written statement to Bloomberg BNA.
“It’s so important that we won the union vote today because now we end the fear of not having enough money to live,” she said in the statement.
Wages were one of the main reasons Intel’s contract cafeteria workers were seeking to organize, Local 19 officials said in January.
The union at the time also provided details on its survey of workers, which concluded the median hourly wage of workers was $14.50 an hour, which meant many workers couldn’t afford to live close to their job in the high cost-of-living area.
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