By Eric Lam
Administration wants to close the Hub cafeteria all summer, which would force staff and students to find lunch elsewhere and will also result in more cafeteria employee layoffs.
This comes only weeks after the union filed a grievance about cutting back employees’ hours during Reading Week which has yet to be resolved.
The Hub is closing because Ryerson won’t be hosting nearly as many conferences and events requiring food services as it did last year, said John Corallo, director of ancillary services.
In the past, the cafeteria in Jorgenson Hall has stayed open in reduced capacity, meaning that the Pitman Hall cafeteria is closed and only select kiosks, such as Tim Hortons’ and Starbucks will remain open.
This will put 70 full-time employees out of a job for four months, unless they’re one of the select 10 that get to keep working.
For some of the potential 67-odd employees out of a job for about four months, this story is nothing new.
Vijay Chirravur works in the Hub and will end his work-term in April. Right now, he’s just worried about getting his job back in the fall.
“If I don’t get a job I’ll take EI, but only until September,” he said.
Ryerson shut down most of the cafeterias last year for the first time, sparking a flurry of complaints from faculty, staff, graduate and continuing education students. The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) local 596 urged the community to send e-mails to Corallo and VP administration and finance Linda Grayson.
Louise Lichacz, President of OPSEU at Ryerson, said she expects to receive many complaints from staff and faculty this year. First, she has to break the bad news to employees.
Lichacz said Ryerson administration is only concerned with the big spenders on campus — full-time undergraduates who purchase meal plans. There is no second thought to people working on campus through the summer, she said.
“So (Continuing Education) students get ignored. The staff gets ignored. The faculty gets ignored. All other support staff gets ignored.”
Kella Loschiavo, chief steward at OPSEU, suggested they try other options. “Have a trial where you’re open to see what it does. If it’s slow, then close down,” she said.
Corallo said he can’t see why people are complaining about lack of choice in the summer.
“There are plenty of choices on campus. And five minutes away, there are cafés and shops.”
— with files from Sarah Boesveld