For immediate release
April1 17, 2012
Toronto, ON—The progressive Filipino Canadian community, alongside the member organizations of the Magkaisa Centre, sends its militant greetings and solidarity with the hundreds of campus food service workers across Toronto demanding their entitlement in calling for new work contracts that allow for better wages and benefits. Campus food workers from York University and the University of Toronto, along with the Unite Here Local 75 union, took to the streets of Toronto on April 16th to assert to corporations like Aramark and Compass that their anti-worker and anti-union tactics, such as locking workers into insufficient working contracts and creating strategic divisions amongst workers, will not keep them from organizing to obtain better wages and benefits. Rather than being immobilized by such practices, campus food workers across are exercising their pivotal role in advancing the rights and struggles of all Canadian workers.
The conditions that have lead to workers demanding for new contracts include working full time hours on contractual and casual basis which lead to working without benefits, and earning poverty wages. In many cases, workers well beyond their youth only earn “student” wages that are below Ontario’s $10.25 per hour minimum wage. With the majority of campus food workers being employed by Aramark or Compass, two global food service corporations, workers toil through the most menial tasks without sufficient payback.
It is not an accident that within the university campuses, Aramark and Compass have sectioned workers in different areas of the university campuses to have different contracts from one another even though all face similar working conditions. The strategic move of Aramark and Compass to divide workers within the campus is a clear example of neoliberal practices perpetuated by private corporations that undermine and divest from workers’ lives, yet inevitably constrict their genuine productivity and development as individuals and as a whole. These are barriers that corporations would like to uphold for their private advantage and are used to silence workers and inhibit their rights to call for better conditions. In recognition of the rights and conditions at stake, workers refuse to let these ploys keep them from organizing across campuses.
It is even more crucial to remember that the majority of campus food workers come from racialized and marginalized communities who are relegated to the service sectors, earning minimum wages in jobs many Canadians will turn their noses to. Already legislated into poverty by Canada’s neoliberal immigration and labour policies, alongside the cuts to settlement funding and public services, this further exemplifies how working class people of colour are highly impacted by Canada’s austerity measures as they are pushed to the bottom of the economy and systemically made immobile. Yet the current demands and mobilizations of the campus food service workers testify to the agency that all workers in Canada have in standing tall and marching forward with militancy in voicing out not only against their poor contracts, but also against the intensifying implementation of Canada’s neoliberal agenda.
Together with the York and UofT food service workers, we will continue to expose such shameful corporate practices and will refuse to accept the exploitation that companies such as Aramark and Compass subject workers to. Alongside other racialized, marginalized and working class peoples, we will continue to support trade union and other democratic rights of the working class in the pursuit of its historic mission of fighting for social liberation.
Stop the anti-worker practices by global food service corporations!
Advance the democratic rights of workers and promote fair agreements with campus food service workers!
Expose and oppose the neoliberal project!
Advance the movement towards genuine settlement and integration!
Support Unite Here Food Service Workers by signing this petition: http://bit.ly/unitehere75petition