October 17, 2014

Aramark workers negotiate new contract

A new contract signed between Aramark and its employees came into effect last month, bringing changes in both wages and health insurance plans to workers in the University.

The contract provides for wage increases of 3 to 5 percent each year, which is a larger gain from what had been negotiated in the previous contract. The contract also calls for improvements in employees’ health insurance plans.

The contract was negotiated by Debra Simmons-Peterson, the president of Teamsters Local 743, who represents the dining hall and academic café employees. The three-year agreement was approved unanimously by union members with a vote of 135 to 0 on May 24, 2014.

“Health insurance is more affordable for members and is now provided through [Teamsters Local’s] health and welfare plan, which includes short term disability and dental insurance,” Catharine Schutzius, a business agent for Teamsters Local 743, said.

Aramark provides services to healthcare institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world. It has been operating both the University dining halls and academic cafés since 2011, and its chairman, Joseph Neubauer, is vice chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees.

Besides wage and health plan improvements, the new contract also calls for a “new, aggressive training program,” according to Eric Young, a manager at Cathey Dining Commons.

One employee in Bartlett Dining Commons commented that she was pleased with the new contract, although she also requested anonymity.

“I think it’s great. It’s much different [from the old contract]. We got a decent raise. It’s a lot better,” she said.

According to the employees, most workers are satisfied with Teamsters Local 743 and how the contract was negotiated. In terms of voter participation for the latest contract, one worker remarked, “I know I voted, and everyone voted that I know of.”