Hundreds Brave February Freeze to Demand Better for Aramark Cafeteria Workers and Students at the University of Toronto

    TORONTO, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - Hundreds of Toronto area foodservice workers,
students and supporters braved February winds and cold to rally this afternoon
at 2 pm outside Sidney Smith Hall at the University of Toronto, to demand
better for Aramark food service workers, who serve thousands of college and
university students across Ontario.
    UNITE HERE, the union representing 100,000 foodservice workers, called on
the multi-national foodservice giant to improve working conditions across
North America. Almost 100 Aramark workers have been on strike in New York City
for more than two months, trying to ensure they can earn a decent living while
serving food in the corporate cafeterias of some of the world's richest
corporations. Additionally, workers who participated in a November, 2007 rally
outside Aramark's Philadelphia headquarters, to draw attention to worsening
working conditions, have been subject to dismissals or demotions.
    "Unfortunately, what we are seeing here in Ontario is part of a bigger
pattern of behaviour by this company," said Bruce Raynor, President of UNITE
HERE. "Aramark seems bent on bolstering profits at the expense of those they
serve and the workers who serve them. It is time to hold companies like
Aramark to account for their business practices. They provide food service in
public institutions across North America and when they abuse the public trust,
whether by how they treat their workers or how they treat their customers,
UNITE HERE will join with members of the community to call them to account."
    UNITE HERE has joined with concerned parents, community leaders and other
workers to raise serious questions about Aramark's business practices, across
North America, including those who are asking why the cash-strapped Detroit
Public School system, which hired Aramark on the promise that it would bring
in more than $25 million in revenue for the district's general fund, has only
garnered $1.4 million or 5% of the pledged revenue.
    Locally, Aramark workers in the GTA complain of being unable to take
their legally required breaks, not receiving contractually required wage
increases and facing retribution for standing up for respect in their
workplaces and organizing a union.
    "We need to put an end to employees not receiving holiday pay or wage
increases," said Alex Dagg, Canadian Co-Director of UNITE HERE. "And we need
to put an end to companies like this thinking it can receive millions of
dollars in tax dollars in contracts in our public institutions and get away
with not following some of the most basic labour standards in our province.
Aramark workers and the students they serve deserve better than this."
    Dave Scrivener, Vice President External, University of Toronto Student's
Union, agreed.
    "Students routinely complain that they are paying too much for too little
from Aramark on campus," said Scrivener. "Considering that, it is outrageous
that a multi-billion dollar company like Aramark still treats its workers with
such disrespect, pays so little and fights workers who organize for basic
improvements in their benefits, pensions and wages."

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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