Over the past three months Aramark employees at the University of Scranton have been working persistently to organize a union in our workplace. Back in September, a few employees got together and decided it was time for our voices be heard.
“I decided to sign a union card because I felt it was important for my coworkers’ work to be appreciated and fairly compensated,” said Diane Bray, one of the original leaders of the union organizing efforts. Diane was not the only worker who felt this way and within a week and a half over 40 of our coworkers also signed union cards, committing to join together to negotiate a fair contract with our employer. “I felt organizing a union was important because we need a fair and collective voice heard in the workplace,” added Kelly Elliott.
Not long after, the workers made it publicly clear that we weren’t backing down. “I was all for the union because I feel unions provide workers with a powerful and collective voice to communicate to management about their concerns and frustrations,” Nicole Musto mentioned.
“Meal plans are expensive and to have certain stations closed at random because there aren’t enough people is frustrating. We see our food service workers usually multiple times a day, every day, and they all have our support.” Fiona Dunn, another university student, added. The students organized a day of support for us where they passed out “We <3 Our Food Service Workers” temporary tattoos which students were happy to wear.
On December 4th 2018, the workers cheered for our victory as the union cards were officially counted and it was clear we’d reached an overwhelming majority. It was in that very “defining moment”, as Nicole described it, that we knew that the change we’d been hoping for was no longer just an idea, it was now becoming a reality. Now that it’s official, employees are planning to bargain for fair wages, opportunity, and equality in the workplace for all of our coworkers.
Nicole summed it up: “That feeling of accomplishment after working toward something for so long, and it all finally paying off, is indescribable”.
By Miranda Chemchick
Miranda is a leader of the Aramark workers’ union at the University of Scranton. She loves being involved in community arts and service projects and is looking forward to joining together with her union siblings to build a better future for working people!