Vinton Aramark production and plant workers seeking better pay and work conditions
VINTON, Va. (WDBJ) - Aramark production and plant employees are upset with the company over pay and work conditions at the Vinton facility.
“We want to have better relations with the company. We want to get things fixed,” said Cindy Pugh, who sews uniforms at Aramark and has been an employee for 25 years.
“I don’t like the way they treat people there. They asked us to give respect. So what about us?” said Bn’Onia Suit, who has worked at Aramark for seven years.
Pugh and Suit are hoping a new contract will bring cleaner facilities, more respect from supervisors and better pay.
“For the seven years you put all your heart, all your blood. That means you walk in there for nothing. So now foods are expensive, I got three kids, how am I going take care of my kids,” said Suit.
Suit not only has her expenses in the United States, but sends money back to help her family in Haiti as well.
“It seems like every time we try to say something or try to get something across, they’re just like waving us off,” said Pugh.
Teamsters Local Union 171 represents 53 production and plant workers at Aramark.
“90% of our production, plant employees are women or minorities and over the years, the company has exploited that. And that’s why they’re so far behind,” said Scott Barry, vice president of Teamsters Local Union 171.
Talks between Teamsters and Aramark began in January and they still haven’t come to an agreement.
“I mean, all these people want is job protection, they want safety, they want a clean workplace, and that’s one of the things we’re fighting for. The hire rate for this company is just $10 an hour, even though they got to pay them 12 because that’s Virginia minimum wage,” said Barry.
We reached out to Aramark about contract talks and they had this to say:
“We have had several meetings with union leaders and the bargaining committee in an effort to reach a new agreement. We intend to keep working toward a settlement that works for everyone.”
WDBJ also asked about the unclean work conditions claim and lack of respect from supervisors, but we did not receive a response.
The hope for Teamsters and employees is that this won’t lead to a strike or lockout.
“No one wants to do that and no one wins in a strike or lockout, so we’re still trying and hopefully we get back to the table. Let’s break through this logjam, let’s get everybody back to work and everybody’s lives back to normal,” said Barry.
WDBJ will continue to provide updates to our viewers about the contract talks on the air and online.
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