Aramark Canada, Trent’s on-campus foodservice provider, is refuting allegations published recently in Arthur that it cut staffing hours and job postings earlier this year. Their comment comes almost two months after Arthur first reported on information from CUPE local 3205 and Aramark staff that the company had cut at least five job postings since September, resulting in union members ‘bumping out’ those with lower seniority.
Responding last week in an email statement, Richard Brown, Aramark’s District Manager, refuted the allegations saying that the company has maintained staffing and service levels this year.
Mr. Brown cited a number of changes to Trent University’s foodservice landscape over the past several years, including the 2007 closure of Traill College and the relocation of the Seasoned Spoon, and said that “during all the of these changes [Aramark] has not had any long term layoffs of its staff.”
More details were offered by Trent University vice-president Steven Pillar who had promised to look into the staffing cuts after the issue was brought to light. Mr. Pillar said that after conversations with Aramark management, the company conceded that it made some scheduling adjustments “to respond to demand,” but that there had been no cuts to personnel or to hours.
“They acknowledge that they made reductions in hours at one place and increased them in another place, but [say that] overall there has been no permanent staff let go and no reduction in hours.”
When asked whether Aramark had cut the number of job postings at the beginning of the year Mr. Pillar said that that “was not [his] understanding.” Mr. Brown made no reference to job postings in his email.
Outside of the alleged staffing cuts, foodservice continues to be a prominent issue this year at Trent. The university continues to be in negotiations with Aramark Canada over a one year contract extension that would keep the company in place at the university until next spring.
There had been some initial speculation that the staffing adjustments were connected to the contract extension process. However, Mr. Brown dismissed this idea, saying that Aramark “expect[s] to maintain levels of staff and service” should the extension be ratified.
However, Pillar noted that there will be some changes to the foodservice delivery should the contract extension be put in place. He noted that the university has been negotiating with Aramark and has brought a list of desires to the bargaining table including increasing the “posting [of] nutritional information and pricing” on Aramark’s food and for the company to participate in the creation of a Food Advisory Committee “that would involve students as well as administration and Aramark.”
According to both Mr. Brown and Mr. Pillar the extension has still not been finalized as the “details are still being negotiated.” According to Mr. Brown, “An announcement should be forthcoming.”