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Starbucks, Burrito Bowl closed after midday staff walkout

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

Sodexo employees at the on-campus Starbucks and Burrito Bowl appear to have walked off the job Tuesday afternoon, leaving the dining spots temporarily closed.

An hour later, Starbucks reopened with employees not in typical uniform working behind the counter. Burrito Bowl reopened with a lone Harrington Place Dining staffer serving what looked like cafeteria food, not the typical Burrito Bowl options. 

A Belmont professor, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Vision Tuesday morning there would likely be a planned employee walkout later in the day due to low wages and long hours.

The Belmont Office of Communications attributed the brief closures to short-staffing.

One worker was seen by a Vision reporter packing up and leaving Burrito Bowl around 1:50 p.m. before locking the doors. A sign was posted saying the popular campus locations were closed due to short-staffing.

Pandemic-era staff shortages have been a recurring issue at Belmont’s Sodexo-run eateries this semester, claiming victims including the on-campus McAlister’s, which reopened in January after there were too few employees to run it in the fall.

“Am I sad that I can’t get my coffee? Yeah. But at the same time, I would rather them have better working conditions to satisfy their needs,” said sophomore Nya Sabye.

“If they’re underpaid and they’re working long hours, plus they’re understaffed … I really don’t blame them.”

Sabye isn’t the only student who sympathizes with the staff. Senior Seth Schwappach was disappointed not to get a burrito on his way to class but said he supports the workers’ walkout.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if they’re really upset,” said Schwappach. “That sucks, if they’re working long hours and they’re underpaid.”

As of the time of publication, Sodexo had yet to respond to requests for comment.

This breaking story will update as the Vision receives more information.

PHOTO: The sign posted in the Janet Ayers Academic Center after employees left Starbucks and Burrito Bowl. Connor Daryani / Belmont Vision

This story was written by Connor Daryani, Anna Jackson, Sarah Maninger and David Pang. Contributory reporting by Gus Sneh.

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