Georgetown Aramark workers’ union certified

A union of Georgetown University’s Aramark workers was officially certified this week, marking the end of nearly two months of negotiations between Aramark, which operates several food service locations at Georgetown, and Unite Here, a union that represents 80,000 foodservice workers nationwide.

“The union at Georgetown for its Aramark workers at Leo’s, Starbucks,  Cosi, the Jesuit residence, and Dr. Mug has been certified,” David Schwartz (SFS ’12), a student who has been involved in the unionization efforts since last July, said.

Through their representation in Unite Here, Aramark employees who work in Leo J. O’Donovan Dining Hall, Wolfington Hall, the Cosi and Starbucks in the Leavey Center, and the Dr. Mug in the Preclinical Building now have the authority to negotiate with Aramark over health care options and wage increases.

While negotiations between Aramark and Unite Here began in early February, workers had quietly been working towards unionization for more than a year. Motivated by Aramark’s alleged mistreatment of its employees, a committee of approximately 20 on-campus workers was formed to clandestinely build support for the campaign.

“They made it easy for us to make this decision, the way we were getting treated,” Donté Crestwell, a 14-year Aramark employee who was involved in the early efforts, told the Voice in February. “Our pay raises are just horrible. Last time we had a raise, a lot of [employees] got 12 cents. Mine was 55 cents, and that was probably one of the highest.”

Under the University’s Just Employment Policy, any on-campus vendor is required to respect workers’ rights.

“Georgetown University’s mission as a Catholic and Jesuit institution includes principles and values that support human dignity in work, and respect for workers’ rights,” Rachel Pugh, director of media relations, wrote in an email. “We live these principles and values through the development and implementation of business policies and practices that create and support a fair and just work place for all members of the university community, including the employees of vendors that deliver services on our campuses. These principles include freedom of association without intimidation, interference or retaliation for all workers.”

For more on the history of the unionization effort, read the Voice‘s Feb. 17 story.

21 Comments on “Georgetown Aramark workers’ union certified

  1. This is what putting faith into action is all about. Well done to all involved.

  2. Magnifico! now i can watch Orlando make my pasta without feeling guilty. three points for a healthy conscious!

  3. this is terrible news. end of “good” service as we know it

  4. My congratulations to all workers, students, and faculty involved in this effort. Hoya Saxa in-fucking-deed.


  5. @Steven #1:
    To the contrary, I’ve found that the quality of service tends to improve when workers have a just workplace where they aren’t being verbally abused with racial slurs by managers, where they have access to affordable, quality health insurance, and where they can earn a living wage for their hard work to support their families.

    Before you make a negative and selfish comment in response to the long-awaited accomplishment of justice for members of our community, search within your heart for the tiniest thimble of compassion for others. I hope it’s there.

  6. when did any of those things ever happen? please don’t be melodramatic and wax poetic about the ‘heroic’ leo’s workers. they are already paid living wage for slow service and poorly stocked food stations.

    @ steven #1: agreed. say goodbye to any sort of reliable service and what little job performance we had before.

  7. I’ll assume you never took the time to talk to the workers to understand what they’ve been going through. I won’t bother asking if you’ve ever had to raise a family on those wages.

    You probably weren’t around when Aramark took over. There was a noticeable change in everyone’s mood at work.

  8. I’ll assume that you have absurdly low standards for the things your parents pay for, and that you take yourself and your pseudo-causes far too seriously.

    It’s well documented that Aramark has had labor scandals – but you’re failing to realize that any corporation that numbers among the mega-employers (Fortune top 500 employers) will have splotches on their record. Further, the minimum wage is calculated by people smarter than you or I, so if you want Leo’s workers to take more of their already living wage home, then how about you complain about taxes, not a company that follows the laws of this country.

    That’s reality, but not even the case in point. Unite Here, like other unions, will help about 2% of its members who actually need protection from an aggressive manager, ignore 38-48% of its members, and grant entitlement and sponsor laziness for the 50-60%; while charging 100% union dues that will make it harder to “raise a family on those wages.”

  9. Pseudo-cause? Don’t make me laugh. I don’t support them for ideological reasons but rather because they are part of the community and I value those friendships I’ve made. The fact that mega-employers have bad labor records should be a surprise to absolutely no one. I’m simply supporting those Leo’s workers and everyone else involved who took the risks and successfully organized.

    The difference between you and me is that it sounds like you only see these workers as part of the package your parents pay for.

  10. “Further, the minimum wage is calculated by people smarter than you or I…”


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