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5 Things
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Over the past few years, thousands of cooks and servers at Google cafeterias working for outside contractors have unionized, securing higher wages, retirement benefits and free platinum health care coverage.

5 things: Google cafeteria worker unionization expanded during pandemic

This and a school district looking to raise enough money to provide universal free meals are some of the stories you may have missed recently.

In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Google cafeteria worker unionization expanded during pandemic

Over the past few years, thousands of cooks and servers at Google cafeterias working for outside contractors have unionized, securing higher wages, retirement benefits and free platinum health care coverage. Employed by the contract companies Compass and Guckenheimer, those unionized now make up about 90% of total Google food services workers in Silicon Valley, according to the Unite Here union. Workers have unionized at 23 Google offices nationwide, including in Seattle and San Jose.

Read more: 4,000 Google cafeteria workers quietly unionized during the pandemic

  1. School district looks to raise funds to provide universal free meals

With federal funding for free meals to all students ended, school cafeteria workers in Blount County in Tennessee are leading a fundraising initiative to support free meals for students who can't qualify for free meals under the federal school meal funding program currently in effect. The estimated cost of providing free meals to all in Blount County Schools would be about $2.5 million, according to School Nutrition Coordinator Karen Helton, who added that the initiative should not stop families from applying for free and reduced-price meals still available for those whose income qualifies through the federal school breakfast and lunch program.

Read more: Blount County Schools cafeteria workers launch Feeding Our Kids campaign

  1. Princeton adds meal plan points that can be used off-campus

Princeton University is providing students on its unlimited meal plan with $150 worth of dining points each semester for purchasing food and non-alcoholic beverages at various on- and off-campus locations. Points will be automatically loaded onto the TigerCards of students with the unlimited meal plan at the start of the semester, and they will be able to check their dining points balance through an online portal. All first-year and sophomore students are required to hold the unlimited meal plan.

Read more: USG initiative to provide students with dining points redeemable at Nassau Street restaurants

  1. Hospital plans to use extra space for community services

With only about 70 of its 400 available beds occupied at any given time, St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, Del. has announced plans for its Healthy Village endeavor that intends to locate organizations offering community services inside the 98-year-old hospital. Through partnerships with community organizations, service providers will occupy whole floors or just an office inside the hospital to allow St. Francis' patients—many of whom do not own vehicles—a convenient one-stop shop of sorts for vital resources. Healthy Village partners will pay for their space inside the hospital, along with electricity and water. Administrators said they also anticipate increased usage of the hospital's cafeteria and environmental services.

Read more: Why St. Francis is making housing and community services priorities at the hospital

  1. Duke Dining removes almond milk from its menus

Duke University Dining has removed almond milk from its menus as part of planned alterations made in response to feedback from students with food allergies, but other non-dairy milk substitutes will still be available, according to Robert Coffey, executive director of Duke Dining. In addition, the program announced that campus restaurants Ginger & Soy and Gyotaku have been temporarily relocated to Chef’s Kitchen on the second floor of the Brodhead Center as global supply chain issues have delayed equipment deliveries for ongoing renovations and the restaurants’ return to their original location. Coffey did not provide information regarding the renovated space's opening date.

Read more: Duke Dining temporarily relocates Ginger & Soy, removes almond milk from menus

Bonus: The 2022 Hospital Power Players

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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