By Maurice Cacho
Associate News Editor
Ryerson’s department of ancillary services said it is considering closing the Hub cafeteria during the summer months, but the union that represents Hub employees said a decision to do so has already been made.
If the university closes the Hub from May to August, approximately 60 employees will be out of work, and Ryerson faculty and staff members will be out of a place to eat. “There’s been some discussions about that, but I can’t confirm that it’s a done deal at this point,” said John Corallo, director of ancillary services.
According to Corallo, a goal of the closure is to save money. However, the leader of the union that represents Ryerson’s cafeteria workers has received a different answer from food services management. “That’s absolutely a lie,” said Louise Lichacz, president of OPSEU local 596. “All the workers were informed (Tuesday) morning.” Normally, some sections of the Hub remain operational during the summer. Under the proposed changes, only Tim Hortons and Starbucks will remain open.
Lichacz said she was first informed of the decision in a meeting on Feb. 22 with food services management. “It was a given” the Hub would be closed, she said. However, food services director Peter Schneider was unaware a decision had been made. “We’re looking at different options, what’s best for the customers,” he said. Lichacz said this decision will not only affect the people who work at the Hub, but faculty and staff who work year-round at the university.
She fears the long-term effects of the closure may hurt the job security of the union’s members. “My feeling is that once the (non-cafeteria) staff in the summer goes outside and finds somewhere else to eat, in September, you’ll only have a few people coming back.” Corallo struggled to say what would happen to the employees that would be laid off, but added there would still be a chance for 10 people to work at Tim Hortons and three at the ILLC. Mandissa Arlain, a library technician, says she will probably go off-campus if the Hub is closed.
“The places around here would love it if that happens,” said Charlotte Broome, also a library technician. She said she would miss the fresh salads and yogurts currently available at the Hub.
John Freeman, program director for fashion communication, said he would start bringing his own lunch, and may occasionally eat off-campus.