UNITE HERE! Local 75

UNITE HERE! Local 75

February 09, 2017 15:48 ET

Cafeteria workers at University of Toronto Scarborough Campus on open-ended strike to end 'poverty-wage jobs'

Employed by Aramark, a US-based sub-contractor, cafeteria workers say university campuses are no place for precarious jobs

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 9, 2017) - Cafeteria workers working for Aramark at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC) launched an open-ended strike Thursday, an escalation in their fight to end what they describe as 'poverty-wage jobs' on the university campus. These workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 75, have been bargaining a new collective agreement for several months.

As the provincial government considers a number of measures to address so-called precarious work - low-wage jobs with little job security - members of the UTSC community are calling on the school to make a commitment to good jobs, so no worker on campus earns a wage that keeps them in poverty.

"If the province wants to address precarious work, we think they should start in their own backyard," says UNITE HERE Local 75 President Lis Pimentel.

"The university administration is hiding behind the food service sub-contractor that they hired," says Jemilie Adajar, a food service supervisor working for Aramark at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. "But they need to step in and solve this. U of T has the money, but it feels like they're ignoring our situation, the same way they ignore the Scarborough Campus in general."

Campus cafeteria workers at University of Toronto's downtown St. George Campus are employed directly by the university rather than by a sub-contractor, and earn a living wage with good health and retirement benefits. University of Toronto Scarborough Campus cafeteria workers, on the other hand, earn only $11.50 per hour with sub-standard benefits. Yet Tim Hortons and Starbucks workers, for example, on the St. George campus and the Scarborough campus do the exact same job.

An open-ended strike could also occur at York University Campus as early as next week, where Local 75 members working for Aramark are also in contract negotiations, according to the union.

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