Loyola students and Local 1 union members joined with Aramark employees as they rallied for rights to healthcare, a 40-hour work week, higher wages and the right for immigrant workers to speak to one another in non-English languages.
Approximately 40 individuals gathered, carrying large mass-produced lollipop-looking signs that proclaimed “Unite Here!” in black and red lettering. The protesters chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, unfair treatment has got to go” and the call and response “What do we want? Healthcare. When do we want it? Now.” They marched in front of DeNobili Hall and down Sheridan Road.
Local 1 is an organization that fights for the rights of workers in the hospitality industry in the Chicago area and northern Indiana.
Janet Irving, an Aramark employee who has worked at Loyola for 30 years and is currently working at Damen’s Burger Studio, said she hopes and prays that Aramark listens to workers’ demands. If they don’t, she said the workers may strike.
“The next step probably would be a strike,” said Irving. “If we don’t get what we want, we’re going to close the cafeterias down.”
Karen Cutler, an Aramark spokesperson, did not respond to The PHOENIX’s inquiries about workers’ allegations, citing continued labor negotiations in an email.
“We are bargaining in good faith and have resolved many outstanding issues,” wrote Cutler. “We continue to meet with the union and are hopeful that we can reach an agreement that works for everyone.”
Marty Sullivan, 21, is a Loyola junior standing in solidarity with the Aramark employees through Students for Worker Justice. For Sullivan, showing support is important.
“It’s definitely showing the community of Loyola that we’re not going to stop, we are going to fight,” said the psychology major. “Definitely we’re going to be escalating from here and we’re not going to stop until we get what we want.”
Loraine Arikat, 19, is a Loyola sophomore and anthropology major. While Arikat concedes that this isn’t her fight explicitly, she still thinks student support is important.
“We would like students to know that this is an important issue because it affects everyone in our community,” said Arikat. “When there is an injustice on our own campus, that’s a problem.”