Employees at Bodo’s Bagels on University Ave. seek to unionize

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 9:46 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Bodo’s Bagels on University Avenue in Charlottesville is looking to unionize with United Food and Commercial Workers. They held a press conference on Wednesday, May 11 to gain public support.

“Workers deserve a voice in how their job works,” Bodo’s employee William Wagoner said.

The employees at the Bodo’s on the University of Virginia corner want a union to address some of the problems they have been facing.

“The main things are pay transparency, and like actual enforcement of our harassment policy,” Bodo’s employee Kieran Williams said.

On top of that they say there is inadequate paid sick leave, staffing shortages, salary transparency, and unlivable wages.

“I know co-workers who work second jobs in the evenings after an eight hour shift here. I know co-workers who have kids that can’t spend time with their kids. I know coworkers who have all these things going on in their life, they can’t pay for it. They can’t pay for housing, they can’t buy food and housing at the same time,” Wagoner said.

Employees argue the starting wage needs to be raised.

“Starting pay is 16. We can survive on 16. But can we really thrive?” Williams said.

Charlottesville City Councilor Michael Payne supports the union.

“Just here to stand behind their effort 100% I think unionization is critical for working class people to be able to afford to live here in Charlottesville, increase our wages and benefits to keep up with inflation,” Payne said.

Two Bodo’s employees from a different location voiced their opposition to the union.

“It’s a bit irritating for myself to hear that because they don’t live in this situation. They don’t work at this store. They don’t work in these conditions. And I ask anyone from another store, please just talk to us. We want to talk to you,” Wagoner said.

If one location votes to unionize it will not affect the other branches. What’s next is left to management to decide.

“Management could choose to accept the unionization effort and if they don’t the workers will pursue an election through the NLRB and there will be a formal process to conduct an election to have the workers choose whether they want to unionize or not,” Payne said.

As of Wednesday, May 11, the group says management has not yet responded.

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