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PETERBOROUGH Food services could soon be shut down at Trent University, unless last-minute mediation talks can avoid a strike by 85 cooks, servers and kitchen maintenance workers, represented by Local 3205 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The last thing we want is a strike that will affect students performance and disrupt food services on campus, says Jean DOrsay, President of Local 3205. Its unfortunate that management has so far refused to address the important issues of sub-standard wages and inferior benefits. We need a fair settlement to avoid a strike.

A central part of campus life for students, faculty, university workers and visitors, food service workers are employed by ARAMARK Canada Ltd., under direct contract with Trent University. These workers prepare, serve and maintain kitchen facilities at the university, including cafeterias, concession stands, catering services and coffee houses.

Its ironic that our members prepare and serve food for a living, but because of their meagre wages, it has become increasingly difficult for them to provide food for their own families, says CUPE National Representative Brian Blakeley. For these workers, this struggle is not about a big wage increase its about basic survival.

The workers are already at a disadvantage, because Aramark lays off staff during the Christmas period, Summer and Reading Week. That means members of CUPE Local 3205 can only work 30 weeks a year.

While our workload has increased with the arrival of the double cohort, management has offered us only 2% over 2 years, says DOrsay. Thats not even enough to buy an extra cup of coffee let alone keep up with inflation to feed our families.

We urge Trent University to recognize the plight of food service workers and make sure Aramark treats our members with fairness and respect, says Blakeley. We need an equitable contract now.

The workers will be in a legal strike position at 12:01 a.m., Saturday, October 11th.


For further information, please contact:
Jean DOrsay
President CUPE Local 3205
Brian Blakeley
CUPE National Rep.
416-580-1300 (cell)
James Chai
CUPE Communications