By Franchetta Groves
A group of Dining Service workers protested on campus last week seeking a better contract with Aramark, the dining service at Catholic University. The protest took place on Thursday afternoon in the Pryzbyla Center.
Many demonstrators wore pins for $15 an hour minimum wage and held signs arguing that one job should be enough to live on. After meeting on the second floor, the protestors walked into the second floor dining hall chanting “we ain’t got no contract, we ain’t got no peace.”
Although the protest did not last long, it was enough for Dining Services to agree to negotiate a contract, called a collective bargaining agreement, with the workers.
“We are in the process of negotiating a new contract,” said Karen Cutler, Vice President of Communications at Aramark. “A few of the employees exercised their right to demonstrate. We continue to bargain in good faith and hope to reach an agreement soon.”
Employees of Dining Services are not able to comment on the current negotiations; however, through the protest they were able to voice their concerns while still acting within their rights to demonstrate.
These types of protests are not uncommon today across college campuses and throughout the country. Just last month at the University of Minnesota, two unions protested for higher wages and to renegotiate their contract. Following the protests at the University of Minnesota, negotiations were able to take place between the labor unions and the administration.
The unions argue that not having a $15 an hour minimum wage means many individuals have to work multiple jobs in order to make ends meet. Opponents of raising the minimum wage argue that by increasing the minimum wage, employers will have no other option then to let some of their workers go, thereby increasing unemployment. One study by the Congressional Office Budget found both of these points to be true. The study found that in about half a decade, 1.3 million individuals could be lifted out of poverty, however as many 1.3 million jobs could be lost throughout the country. Some counter that the jobs lost are merely based on those who work more than one job and that by increasing the minimum wage it will not be necessary for individuals to work more than one job to survive.
“I’m happy to see that the people who serve me and make my life better on campus and take care of my well being are standing up for their rights,” said Regina Brennan, a junior politics and anthropology major.