For Immediate Release
January 2, 2012
Face-off at the Winter Classic: Aramark Employees Push for Better Wages, Benefits
Ballpark workers keep up the pressure on Aramark in the off-season
Hundreds of Aramark's Citizens Bank Park employees, and their supporters from New York to Baltimore, rallied in support of better wages and access to healthcare benefits following the 2012 NHL Winter Classic. Since voting down the company's latest contract offer in September, beer vendors, concessions stand attendants, and the other stadium employees covered have been publicly pushing Aramark to put forward a contract that includes better wages, stable health benefits and more work opportunities. This public push has included several rallies at the ballpark and a joint march with Occupy Philadelphia by Aramark's global headquarters on Market Street.
There are three primary sticking points in the dispute at Citizens Bank Park:
Wages. Below is a comparison of regular wage paid to a concessions stand attendant at two stadiums:
Citizens Bank Park (Phillies)
Aramark Proposal: 30¢/hr
Fenway Stadium (Red Sox)
Guaranteed Annual Raise: 65¢/hr (average over 4 years)
Benefits. Currently, 240 of the 1500 workers are eligible for basic health insurance benefits. Aramark proposes to make only 81 eligible.
Opportunity to work. Aramark:
- wants to reduce the minimum number of hours that workers get paid for each game;
- prevents workers from working all the games in the homestand, to avoid paying overtime; and 3
- won't let beer vendors advertise on the concourse, reducing their sales and commissions.
"It's important to keep fighting for good wages and benefits, even in the off-season," said Briheem Douglas, a concessions worker. "This is not a game to us. Our families depend on what we earn at the ballpark to survive."
"Having access to healthcare is extremely important for me," said Brandon Simmons, a concessions worker at Citizens Bank Park. "A sudden medical emergency can strike anyone at any time. It happened to me this year. Having access to basic healthcare can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation."
Background: UNITE HERE represents stadium workers who prepare and sell food, drinks, and merchandise in the stands, suites, and seats. This includes 1,500 Aramark workers at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Across North America, UNITE HERE represents more than 250,000 stadium, food service, hotel, airport, and gaming workers, including approximately 6,000 in Philadelphia.