Cuts in UDS studenthours upset some

University Dining Services officials say that cuts in student-employee hours are standard procedure after spring break.

Anna Weggel

Shortly after first-year art student Julianne Moch returned from spring break, her employer cut her hours in half.

A University Dining Services worker, Moch said she was frustrated that the service never warned her about the decrease in hours or loss of half her income.

“I’ve got rent to pay and now there’s a lack of means,” she said.

UDS officials said they typically cut students’ hours after spring break to counter a decrease in customers. But student workers such as Moch said they are struggling to make ends meet and some have said they are now overburdened with the lack of help behind UDS counters.

Larry Weger, director of UDS, said this is a normal pattern of how food services begin to slow as the semester comes to an end.

“We are going through what is a pretty normal period of time in the academic year where business slows down,” Weger said. “It is not different than any other year.”

He said that before spring break, there were 3,800 hours of student labor in a full week. After the vacation, UDS reduced that number to 3,100, an 18 percent cut in student hours.

There are 313 students who work for UDS on the Twin Cities campus, Weger said.

UDS officials cut students’ schedules rather than union employees’ because Teamsters Local 320 contracts limit the number of changes that can be made to their hours.

“Reduction in workforce at a Teamster level is a very different issue than reduction in student hours,” Weger said.

Teamster workers are required to receive 30 days notice before a reduction in hours, whereas UDS can reduce students’ hours at any time, said Leslie Bowman, UDS contract administration director.

Moch said she showed up for her shift at the Centennial Hall cafeteria and discovered that her hours would be reduced immediately.

When students are hired, UDS does not tell them their hours could dissipate toward the end of the year because many end up reducing their schedules on their own behalf, Bowman said.

“(Student UDS workers) are typically not disappointed,” Bowman said. “They want to be outside, and they’re very busy being caught up and ready to go for the last push of the semester.”

But some students said the short notice about the loss of hours inconveniences them.

First-year psychology student Jennifer Craig recently lost one of her shifts.

“They didn’t tell us at all – it was a total surprise to me,” Craig said. “I was disappointed because I was going to try and save up for an apartment.”

Ben Maas, a first-year electrical engineering student, did not lose any hours but said it has been difficult to keep pace since the loss of help in the dish room where he works.

“People have to take on multiple jobs,” he said. “It’s a lot more hectic.”