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Execs Prosper While Employees Get Food Stamps

WASHINGTON, - Executives with Sodexo, one of the largest food service companies in the world, was recognized by Working Mother magazine and business membership organization Corporate Voices for Working Families as one of the "Best Companies for Hourly Workers, 2010," although the company pays its full-time workers so little that many of them still qualify for Federal food stamp programs, according to information obtained by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) regarding Sodexo's wage rates.

Based on SEIU analysis, many Sodexo workers qualify for the three, largest federal anti-hunger programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as the Food Stamp Program); the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and the National School Lunch Program (NLSP).

"As a mother of three kids, I'm having a really hard time making ends meet on Sodexo's wages," said Zarassa Harris, a Sodexo custodian in New Orleans. "I make $11 an hour and take home up to $330 a week -- but if I have to miss one or two days because I or my kids get sick, my paycheck can be as little as $150."

Despite making more than a billion dollars profit in 2009, and being the 22nd largest employer in the world, Sodexo pays its workers in the United States as little as $7.50 an hour and does not offer affordable healthcare options to its food service and similar employees. Two-thirds of non-managerial Sodexo employees in the U.S. are not covered by health insurance offered by the company.

The award comes just as the food service giant faces potential federal labor law violations -- according to charges filed with National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) -- for illegal fires, surveillance and interrogation of workers who want to form a union.

Additionally, Sodexo faces challenges from workers that have resulted in several strikes, demonstrations and arrests at nearly 20 college campuses and 11 states to protest Sodexo's anti-union activities.

With 2.2 million members in Canadathe United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers -- not just corporations and CEOs -- benefit from today's global economy.


SOURCE Service Employees International Union

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