Injuries Today on Picket Line at Seneca College in Markham

    Picketers Struck by Four Separate Cars outside Seneca's Markham campus

    TORONTO, March 13 /CNW/ - UNITE HERE, the union representing striking
cafeteria and janitorial staff who work for Aramark at Seneca College's
Markham campus, repeatedly called York Region Police to their picket line
today after four picketers were hit by motor vehicles in four separate
    "This is a legal picket line at a well known public, Ontario post
secondary institution," said Alex Dagg, Director of the Ontario Council of
UNITE HERE. "It is outrageous that people think that driving, sometimes at
high speed, through a picket line of people is acceptable in this province.
Seneca needs to take immediate action to stop this violence on their campus."
    Foodservice workers and janitorial staff at Seneca's Markham campus,
employed by the multi-national Aramark, set up picket lines on Monday,
striking for a fair first contract. Within hours of the picket line going up
on Monday, one driver, attempting to cross the picket line with his car,
repeatedly bumped a picketer and jumped from his still moving vehicle to
threaten the picketers.
    Today, police were repeatedly called after four separate incidents of
cars driving through people on the picket line. Police moved to charge the
driver in the first incident, after one picketer's leg was injured after being
struck by the vehicle. Another member of UNITE HERE, Ricardo Pallasigui, a
distribution worker showing his support on the picket line, received cuts and
bruises after being struck by a fast moving car.
    "I can't believe this college is letting this happen," said Pallasigui.
"I'm here supporting these workers because I know how hard it is to fight to
make your job better. That anyone entering a college campus in this province
thinks it is OK to use their car as weapon because they don't want to be held
up by a few minutes, well, it makes you wonder what we're teaching our
students these days."
    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. Most of the workers at Markham
campus make less than $10 an hour, even though Aramark workers at other Seneca
locations make substantially more. 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.

    UNITE HERE is asking labour and community allies for strike support at
Seneca's Markham Campus at 10 Allstate Parkway in Markham (Hwy 7 and 404). The
union is also asking that supporters contact Dr. Rick Miner, President of
Seneca College at 416-491-5050, ext 2261 or email to
demand Seneca put an end to the violence on its 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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