Bidding process potentially endangers jobs for UConn workers
UConn Health’s frontline food service workers face an uncertain future due to an open request for proposals (RFP) process putting their jobs at risk, according to a press release.
A tender is a process by which a buyer is able to gather information from potential suppliers. In an open tender, any potential supplier is allowed to view the tender documents and submit a response (offer), according to supplierselect.com.
UConn Health’s current food supplier, Sodexo, has prompted other entrepreneurs to auction their bids in order to become UConn’s kitchen suppliers, according to the press release.
Food service workers met with Josh Elliot, a state official and chair of the higher education committee, to voice concerns about the tendering process.
Workers fear that selecting a new food supplier to UConn will disrupt current benefits for workers or put them at risk of losing their jobs.
Beryl Hicks, a 15-year UConn Health employee, said the open bidding process is concerning as she has no idea what will happen to her earnings.
“We can lose it all, we may not even have a job,” Hicks said.
Hicks said her husband passed away almost a year ago, which meant she was only dependent on her own income. She said the bidding process puts her in a difficult position and it was important to her that anyone who hires UConn be able to keep the contract and the worker’s benefits.
“We had to come to work every day to make sure our clients and patients were fed,” Hicks said. “It was very scary because [COVID] could have affected our own health, not to mention coming home and affecting our own families. But we were there to make sure our clients and patients were fed. “
Cory Walker, an employee who had worked for UConn Health for 2 years, said working during the pandemic was stressful due to the risk of infection.
“Every day, by coming here to help prepare things for patients and clients, we put our livelihoods on the line,” Walker said. “It affected me because I worked harder, things weren’t as organized and I spent less time with my son and daughter.”
Walker said the contract is important to him as he needs his job to pay for child care and to be able to see his daughter.
“UConn needs to step up its efforts,” Walker said. “Choose a supplier who will guarantee our contracts, our livelihoods and above all our jobs. “