Students rally at Hoya Court in support of Aramark workers
On Wednesday afternoon, over a hundred students and Aramark employees led by the Georgetown Solidarity Committee gathered at Sellinger Lounge and marched to Hoya Court in support of Aramark workers’ rights on campus.
Students created a buzz of excitement at the rally, chanting a variety of slogans in Spanish and English to show their solidarity with the workers. “Hey hey, ho ho, the exploitation’s got to go,” they said. “El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido [the town united will never be divided].” Employees at Salad Creations, Elevation Burger, and Subway observed the rally from behind their counters. Some cheered the students on.
Representatives from the rally presented two separate petitions to Aramark’s managers to Hoya Court. One, signed by 83 percent of Hoya Court workers, called for Aramark to allow those working there to have a fair process to organize to protect themselves from workplace abuse and mistreatment from managers.
The other, disseminated among students weeks prior to the rally by GSC, represented 2,024 signatures collected from Georgetown students, faculty, and staff calling for Aramark to provide equitable working conditions and source food from sustainable producers as they negotiate a new labor contract with workers at Leo O’Donovan Dining Hall.
In an investigation on employment conditions in dining services, the Voice found that Aramark employees are paid less and subscribe to more expensive health insurance plans than their counterparts at American University.
“Seeing these people so passionate, and coming together; it really pushed me on the verge of tears,” GSC member Dan Zager (COL ’18) said. “Because I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than when human beings come together for a cause, for a common good.”
Workers at Hoya Court expressed gratitude to see so much student support for their cause. “You see how crazy it is that students care more about our work than our own managers,” Erenia Pacheco, an employee at Subway, said.
Elli Bloomberg and Catherine Harlos, both freshman at American University and part of the Student Worker Alliance helping Aramark workers at their own campus, came to support the rally.
“As AU students, we’re watching this, and we’re going to turn up again and again until it’s fixed. Other universities are watching Georgetown. We’re here to support and we’re not leaving,” they said.
Read more about the rally in Thursday’s print edition of the Voice.
Additional reporting by Lilah Burke, Caitlyn Cobb, and Ryan Miller.
Photo: Kenneth Lee/Georgetown Voice