Cafeteria Workers and Cleaning Staff begin Strike at Seneca College

    Aramark workers demand fair first contract at Seneca's Markham campus

    TORONTO, March 10 /CNW/ - Foodservice workers and janitorial staff at
Seneca's Markham campus, employed by the multi-national Aramark and members of
UNITE HERE, set up picket lines this morning just north of Toronto, striking
for a fair first contract.
    "These workers, many of whom make just above minimum wage and work two
jobs to make ends meet, organized with UNITE HERE to make things better," said
Alex Dagg, Director of UNITE HERE's Ontario Council. "Since July of last year,
they have been making reasonable proposals for a fair first contract and are
simply asking Aramark to bring their wages, benefits and working conditions in
line with other Aramark workers at Seneca. Aramark has refused to address
their concerns and these workers are saying they are ready to stand up for
fair working conditions."
    Aramark workers at Seneca's Markham campus have been asking the
foodservice giant to address low wages and benefits as well as consistent
problems with abusive behaviour by supervisors. However, at the last
bargaining session, on the eve of a strike deadline, Aramark responded with a
paltry 1.25% wage increase or less than 10 cents an hour for most staff. At
the end of this month, Ontario will raise its minimum wage by 75 cents an
    "We voted, 100% to take strike action because these poor working
conditions can't go on," said Andy Chui who works the overnight shift as a
janitor at Seneca's Markham campus and is a member of UNITE HERE's Aramark
bargaining committee. "I was insulted by the company's 10 cent offer. This
company makes a lot of money and we're simply asking for a living wage and to
be treated with dignity and respect. It is ridiculous that a big, powerful
corporation like this thinks it can push us around simply because we serve
food and clean floors."
    Recently, hundreds braved February winds and cold to rally outside the
University of Toronto, demanding better for Aramark workers who serve
thousands of college and university students across Ontario. Aramark, based in
Philadelphia, recorded $12.4 billion in sales in 2007 and employs 245,000
employees worldwide, 15,000 of them here in Canada. It serves meals to
students at high schools, university and colleges as well as workers in
factories and law firms. It also provides laundry and cleaning services.

    UNITE HERE Canada represents 50,000 workers across Canada and 450,000
across North America, thousands of them foodservice workers like those working
for Aramark at Seneca's Markham campus.

For further information:

For further information: Wynne Hartviksen, at (416) 510-0887, ext No.
265, or via cell at (416) 473-2632

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