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Food service workers rising

By: 
Darren Edgar

April 5, 2012

Unite Here local 75, representing hotel and hospitality workers in the Greater Toronto Area, currently has more than 500 campus food service workers at York University and the University of Toronto negotiating for new union contracts with global food service corporations, Aramark and Compass.

Some of the issues of concern for the workers include poor wages and benefits, and working conditions such as scheduling. Many of the workers, most of whom are women, barely make more than minimum wage. Many of them work part-time—meaning they receive little to no benefits—even though they’d rather be working full-time, and they often have to work split shifts just to get even these few hours.

Food service corporations like Aramark, Compass and Sodexo increase their profits by exploiting large pools of poorly compensated workers, and it is this lack of respect for the workers and their contributions—to the communities in which they work as well as to corporate profits—which inspired a public awareness campaign.

On March 29, students at the University of Toronto, in solidarity with food service workers’ struggle for fairer contracts, headed to various cafeterias on campus to hand out informational leaflets and stickers and to collect signatures for a solidarity petition created by Unite Here 75. Students, alumni, staff and faculty of both York and UofT are encouraged to sign the petition, and may do so online by visiting: www.uniteherecanada.org/students

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