Over 200 Bon App workers lose their jobs at UP

Layoffs to take effect at the end of the month

By Carlos Fuentes | September 19, 2020 4:58pm

The Commons, once filled with students and employees, has been running under limited operations since the switch to online learning.

Media Credit: Jennifer Ng / The Beacon

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a wave of food service layoffs on campus. Bon Appétit Management Company has notified the Oregon Dislocated Worker Unit that it is laying off 224 of its workers at UP. In a letter to the state agency requiring notice of mass layoffs, the Palo Alto-based company said it cut these jobs due to “the unforeseen business circumstances related to COVID-19 and resulting physical calamity.”

According to Kirk Mustain, Bon Appetit supervisor, 54 of the 224 who are losing their jobs are students. The remaining 170 are non-student workers. Those laid off include 38 cashiers, 74 cooks, 25 dishwashers and other positions. Only about a dozen Bon App workers remain employed on campus.

“I and the rest of the team were deeply saddened to say goodbye to our longtime colleagues,” Mustain said in an email to The Beacon. “I personally called everyone, and those were difficult calls to make. We are all very much looking forward to the day when we can begin to rebuild our workforce and serve the University of Portland community back on campus.”

Bon App’s letter to the State indicated it wasn’t clear “whether its reduced operation will be permanent, but is expected to last many months.” 

The layoffs will take effect on Sept. 30 and Oct 1. Both salaried and hourly employees are affected. 

The Bon App layoffs are just the latest in a string of financial hits due to the pandemic and the University’s decision to cancel in-person instruction. On Aug. 18, the University announced pay cuts for all faculty and staff and furloughs for many staff members. 

Carlos Fuentes is the Copy Editor for The Beacon. He can be reached at fuentes22@up.edu.