Union workers deserve respect

Mark LaVoie

?After some (rightfully) negative commentary about the Union in last week’s Review, I felt I should bring to light the positive parts of the Union machine: The employees. They are the people who make and sell the overpriced Union food; they are the ones who have to deal with rude, obnoxious, over bearing, cell-phone using jackasses.

?Anyone who has had to interact with college students in a customer service capacity knows that a great many of them leave their manners at the restaurant entrance. I applaud the cooks and cashiers who haven’t yet shanked a student with a plastic knife from the Union. In their hurry to get through line, get to a table and eat, I see students forgetting to display even minor courtesies to the folks doling out their hamburgers and brisket.

?The faces of the employees show it all, their whole story. They look disinterested and fed up, except when someone says genuinely, “Thank you.” Then the reality of the cashier or cook comes through. No longer is the dreary automaton there, dropping change into your hand, but rather, a person, grateful for some recognition of their efforts emerges from a ho-hum state.

?I have never had a bad experience at the Union when it comes to customer service, and more so, as I return to the Union and (I think) people recognize me, their countenances seem brighter with each successive trip. All it takes is a “thank you,” an “I appreciate it, have a very nice day,” and you can make a “worker bee’s” day better. Those of us who haven’t worked in a restaurant may not be able to appreciate the effort it takes to do a repetitive job such as cashiering or slinging burgers to people. But those of us who do know, understand it is a tedious and tiring process.

?I like the employees of the Union. They are always helpful and courteous to me. Over the last two years of eating at the Union I have asked for a manager twice to specifically compliment an employee. This semester I try to go through Janet Gay’s line to pay for my food. She is quick to point out if I have forgotten to pick up something that goes with a meal combo and she is always pleasant.

?The food in the Union may be average, and the prices may be high, but the employees there deserve a collective pat on the back and a “thank you” for their service.