Picketer Hit by Car and Threatened by Driver Less than 2 Hours into
Strike by Aramark Workers at Seneca's Markham campus
TORONTO, March 10 /CNW/ - UNITE HERE, the union representing striking
cafeteria and janitorial staff who work for Aramark at Seneca College's
Markham campus, called York Region Police to their picket line Monday morning
after one picketer was hit by a motor vehicle and threatened by its driver.
"This kind of behaviour on picket lines is outrageous," said Alex Dagg,
Director of the Ontario Council of UNITE HERE. "Aramark workers at Seneca's
Markham campus have served the students of this facility around the clock,
cleaning their campus and preparing food, for low wages and few benefits. That
someone would try to intimidate them when they are standing up and simply
asking for fair working conditions is reprehensible."
Foodservice workers and janitorial staff at Seneca's Markham campus,
employed by the multi-national Aramark set up picket lines at 7 am this
morning, striking for a fair first contract. Within hours of the picket line
going up, one driver, attempting to cross the picket line with his car,
repeatedly hit one picketer, Wes Hannah, with his car, eventually sending him
onto the hood of the car. Mr. Hannah was able to get off the car but was then
confronted by the same motorist, who jumped from his still moving car to
threaten him. When other picketers intervened, the man left the scene, only to
return on foot a few minutes later, again, threatening Mr. Hannah.
"UNITE HERE will not stand for this," said Dagg. "We will not have anyone
on our picket line threatened or injured. We called the police, made a full
report of the incident and expect the appropriate charges will be laid. Our
picket line was only inconveniencing drivers for a couple of minutes and it is
ridiculous and dangerous that someone thought he could use his car to take out
his frustrations on people."
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
Mr. Hannah was luckily uninjured by the motorist and picketers were able
to get the license plate of the vehicle, which was reported to police. Aramark
workers have been receiving support throughout the day from staff and students
at Seneca's Markham campus. Students have joined workers on the picket lines
and dropped by with food and warm drinks.
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