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Thompson Center Food Service Workers Seek Quinn's Help Keeping Jobs

Thompson Center Food Court Getting New Management

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Union food service employees at the Thompson Center food court were urging Gov. Pat Quinn to protect their jobs in the face of a looming management changeover.

WBBM Newsradio's Nancy Harty reports 29 employees who work at the various fast food stands at the Great State Fare food court in the basement of the Thompson Center are worried they'll lose their jobs when their employer, Sodexo, moves out of the state government building hands over the reins of the food court to a new management company.

UNITE HERE Local 1, the union representing those workers, was calling on the governor – whose Chicago office is in the Thompson Center – to make sure the food court employees keep their jobs when a new food service company takes over.

UNITE HERE Local 1 spokeswoman Carly Karmel said Sodexo recently signed a labor deal giving the lowest paid employees at the Thompson Center wages of $10.35 an hour – more than the $10 an hour minimum wage Quinn has proposed.

"So right as these workers are going to be making more than the minimum wage that Governor Quinn and Senator Durbin are advocating, they're going to be losing their jobs," she said. "Some of these workers have been working at the Thompson Center cafeteria for over two decades."

Karmel said it's not clear what kind of agreement they'll have with the new food service company moving in at the Thompson Center.

"There's uncertainty whether or not they'll have a job next week, and that's our first step," she said.

The union said it the state has the power to make sure the food court workers keep their jobs when a new food service company takes over.

A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, which runs the Thompson Center, said while the state's concerned for the workers, the employees' contract is not with the state.

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