Ten months after the certification of their union, workers for Georgetown University Dining Services and their employer, Aramark Higher Education, have tentatively agreed upon a three-year employment contract.
The agreement reached Tuesday between Aramark and the negotiating committee is subject to the approval of the union, which is comprised of workers in O’Donovan Hall, the Jesuit Residence, Cosi, Starbucks and the Pre-Clinical Science Building’s Dr. Mug. Members of the union will meet in the coming weeks to discuss the proposed contract.
The agreement includes significant gains for the employees, including a 50-cent-per-hour wage increase for each of the three years. Aramark has also agreed to cover 80 percent of employees’ healthcare costs for the next two years and 85 percent during the third year of the contract.
Samuel Geaney-Moore (SFS ’12), who has been involved in assisting Leo’s employees, believes that last week’s lunchtime demonstration by union members was an important part of moving negotiations along.
“I think the recent demonstration in the cafeteria was essential in showing [Aramark] that the workers are united and [have] significant support from the student body,” he said.
Leo’s employee and negotiation committee member Tarshea Smith said she was grateful to the students involved in the demonstration and those who supported the formation of the union last spring.
“I think the students played a big role in us getting together. If the students weren’t behind us, I don’t think the negotiating committee would have been as strong,” she said.
Smith added that last week’s demonstration was particularly significant because all of the Leo’s managers happened to be on site.
“They must have called the negotiators at Aramark and said to them, ‘These people aren’t playing around,'” she said.
The university reacted positively to the news, according to university spokeswoman Stacy Kerr.
“We are pleased that Aramark and the union worked collaboratively to reach an agreement that honors Georgetown University’s just employment policy,” she wrote in an email.