Rat Retired? (cafeteria workers vs. Aramark)

by Mike Hirsch

Cafeteria workers taking on Aramark, the food service giant that pays starvation wages to fatten rich corporate executives, were joined in front of Wall Street’s First Bank of New York today by a giant inflatable animal. No, it wasn’t the looming, fanged, ubiquitous rat that New York City construction workers and others use to draw public attention to contractors hiring non-union help at work sites or urge support for contract fights and organizing drives. In its place was a giant skunk. No comment yet from the UNITE-HERE executive dining room workers on the fate of the rat; one said he thought it was pensioned off, but they all insisted the skunk was a pretty good mascot, too. Why? “Because Aramark stinks,” they all agreed.

2 Responses

  1. The rat is ready for a well-deserved retirement, and replacing it with a skunk for Aramark was a good decision. I negotiated some small school cafeteria agreements with Aramark in the 1980s and “skunk” is right on the mark.

  2. Stinky is right! — from a story from last year on union-busting Catholic hospitals and their janitorial contractor Aramark:

    Sadrac Martinez, a janitorial worker at Mission Hospital who has worked there close to 10 years, noticed a few months ago that he and other co-workers were not seeing overtime hours reflected on their paychecks. Their supervisors, who are outsourced by the health system to third-party Aramark Corporation, would sometimes pay employees in cash when mistakes were found and would urge employees not to go to the hospital’s HR department, he says.

    One of the biggest issues for Martinez is the increased workload and decreased number of workers in his department, which he believes has led to an overall decline in hospital cleanliness. “There used to be seven people on the night shift, and now there are only two—and the hospital has grown,” he says. He worries about the hospital’s reputation. “To the hospital, the Aramark managers are good managers because they have a low cost and get the work done. But they don’t know how Aramark does it,” says Martinez, citing the bigger cleaning areas he and co-workers have been given and Aramark’s emphasis on speed.

    “We have a limited amount of time to clean between surgeries, approximately five minutes between three of us. Where is the concern for health? A surgery room that is stained and dirty after a surgery needs to be inspected very carefully. Five minutes is not enough time. The cleanliness of the room is not guaranteed in five minutes. If the next patient comes in, and there is bacteria there, they may get infected.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: