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Laid-off Hopkins food service workers to get four weeks pay

Johns Hopkins University food service workers from Unite Here Local 7 stage an action with social distancing to protest that financial relief pay which was promised by the university has not materialized yet. The workers held signs saying "We Are Essential." May 1, 2020
Johns Hopkins University food service workers from Unite Here Local 7 stage an action with social distancing to protest that financial relief pay which was promised by the university has not materialized yet. The workers held signs saying "We Are Essential." May 1, 2020(Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Laid-off food service employees at Johns Hopkins University will receive four weeks’ pay after losing work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Unite Here Local 7 announced the relief pay Friday, three weeks after members rallied at the Hopkins campus. Nearly 200 workers will receive the pay as lump sums, said union president Roxie Herbekian.

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The union members, who are employed by university contractor Bon Appetit Management Co., lost work as the campus shut down because of the pandemic. Many have since struggled to obtain benefits from Maryland’s overwhelmed unemployment system, Herbekian said.

“Folks have been nervous, worried,” Herbekian said. The pay “gives them a cushion to help them get through.”

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Workers rallied May 1 at Johns Hopkins’ Homewood campus. The union said at the time that Hopkins had previously agreed to provide four weeks pay, but then did not. Hopkins students who support the workers have circulated a petition urging the school to pay them.

In a statement Friday, university officials said the payments are “in recognition of the hardships faced by [Bon Appetit’s] furloughed employees — valued members of our University family — during this difficult time.”

“All parties are grateful for the spirit of collaboration in the ongoing discussions," the university said.

Unite Here has also called upon the Orioles to provide financial relief to contracted concession workers who have lost work because of the pandemic, recently holding a protest at Camden Yards.

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