March 2nd, Value City Arena at the Ohio State University. It was the last home game of the season and the champsionship game of the Big-Ten and OSU fans were out in droves, but there were a group of students who had more to say than beat Illinois. During the 2nd half of the game a group of students wearing purple SEIU (service employees international union) shirts pulled out banners and signs saying CLEAN UP SODEXO while chanting "O-H-I-O Clean Up Sodexo". The arena security were none too happy with the banners and proceeded to take them away from the protestors. After the banners were gone another round of chanting was cut premature as the threat came from security that there would be repurcussions for OSU students if they didn't stop. The irony of students potentially being in trouble for chanting at a OSU game was not lost on many. The crowd in general was confused and annoyed that people were disrupting their viewing experience but at this point the buckeyes were already up 9 points and there wasn't excitement happening on the court.
This action was the the latest in a campaign by students supporting Sodexo workers who primarily work in the food service behind the scenes at the Arena. Two days prior a group of students met with Gordon Gee's assistant Kate Wolford to address the many issues they have with Sodexo's treatment of it's employees. Some of the concerns are employees get poverty-level wages, sub-par health coverage and no annual percentage raises. This is a cost-cutting measure at OSU that enables them to take advantage of workers that are making far less than they would if they were OSU employees and enjoying far less benefits. Organizers say this will not be the last action as they continue to support the effort of Sodexo employees to unionize.