Union official asks students to boycott vending machines , not cafeteria

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By: Hamida Ghafour

The company that runs the cafeterias treats its workers poorly, says a Ryerson union official who urged students to boycott the vending machines but not the cafeteria.

“Were encouraging people to boycott the vending machines because the vending machines because that doesn’t affect workers,” said OPSEU local 596 president Stephanie Blake, adding that boycotting the cafeteria would mean less working hours for the employees.

She says Aramark managers at Ryerson mistreat workers, who frequently complain to her that they are forced to cut corners in food preparation and that managers violate workers’ contracts because managers don’t understand the agreements.

“A week doesn’t go by where we don’t get a complaint,” Blake said.

Aramark managers did not return The Eyeopener’s phone calls.

Aramark’s employees at the GM plant in Oshawa, who are unionized under the Canadian autoworkers, have picketed at Ryerson after a court injunction barred them from doing so at the auto plant. They have been on strike for more than eight weeks because they want better wages and working conditions.

Although the workers at Ryerson make less than $20,000 a year they have better working conditions, benefits and wages than their counterparts at the GM plant, who make less than $10 an hour, Blake said

Staff who work at the hub in Jorgensen hall and the cafeteria in Pittman hall (32 full time workers who are organized under the OPSEU) actually work for Ryerson even though they are managed by Aramark.

The US based Aramark took over control of food services at Ryerson last year after buying versa foods, which had operated the services here for about five years.

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