Outgoing WSU food service provider notifies state of 134 layoffs

As many as 134 people will lose their jobs with Wright State University’s outgoing food service provider when the company’s contract expires June 30. But the union representing the workers said it hopes the workers will be hired by the incoming company.

Sodexo Inc. notified the state that it will “close its operation” at Wright State “and the employment of individuals there will be discontinued,” according to Sodexo’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filing with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The company has been providing dining plan services and managing retail space at WSU’s Fairborn and Lake campuses since 1995.

Wright State is currently negotiating a 10-year contract with another company, Chartwells. The company would provide all services, including concessions at the Wright State Nutter Center, said Mark Polatajko, vice president for business and fiscal affairs and university treasurer.

“It is our desire and our hope that they will hire our members,” said Dennis Painter, international representative for the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America. Painter said the union has had preliminary conversations with the new company, but has not yet met with them.

He said some workers have more than 30 years of experience working at Wright State under different companies.

Chartwells is owned by the Compass Group, which has more than 180,000 employees in the United States, according to its website.

The transition comes after a 10-month review aimed at getting the best deal and quality services for the community and taxpayers, according to WSU. Four companies made presentations on campus, Polatajko said. Chartwells’ proposal guarantees the university will receive $24 million in the 10 years, and an additional $8.2 million to improve facilities, including constructing the new Woods Commons, Polatajko said.

Polatajko said Chartwells has said it will be reaching out to current employees and conducting on-site interviews.