Striking York University Food Service Workers Win $15 and Fairness

Published on The Bullet, Socialist Project’s E-Bulletin No. 1381, by Alia Karim and David Bush, March 12, 2017.

On Monday March 6th, striking York University food service workers, represented by Unite Here Local 75, voted to accept their new contract. The workers went on strike for and won a $15/hour starting wage and fair working conditions. Their victory paves the way for workers right across the province to achieve $15 and fairness … //

… Building Support: … //
… Engaging in Solidarity: … //
… Why This Matters: … //

… The victory is a huge win for racialized workers in low-wage industries who are forced to take the hardest and least desirable jobs without basic labour protections. The majority of Aramark food service workers are women of colour. Harassment and intimidation from managers was targeted at women, physically pushing them to work harder and if they didn’t comply they would be disciplined through suspension or a cut in hours. Some female workers were told they are not going to be promoted because they were Muslim and wore a hijab. There were pregnant women who were bullied and harassed to continue working despite their need for proper breaks.

These women decided to fight back and were very vocal about their experiences at work. They asked for an end to harassment, racism and Islamophobia and for respect and dignity. Their struggle shows that $15 and Fairness is not just about economic justice for workers, but it is also about justice for racialized women who face intersecting exclusion on the basis of class, race, sex, gender, and status. Their demands for respect and dignity were inherently tied to demands for higher wages and fair working conditions. Their victory is a huge win for racialized women who bear the brunt of precarious work and shows how $15 and Fairness demands can effectively push back against systemic inequalities in the labour market.

The victory at York belongs above all to the workers, whose confidence and organizing galvanized the entire York community and the whole Fight for $15 and Fairness movement. The strike was also a victory for the students and other unions on campus. The victory for improved working conditions for the food service workers make it possible to think of fighting to make all of York a $15 and fairness campus. The new networks of students and workers forged in this fight can continue the struggle after the settlement.

The lesson for those engaged in the solidarity work is that doing sustained mass outreach and consciousness building about the issues – and even broader concepts like striking, scabbing and unions – is essential. This was made easier by the existence of the $15 and Fairness campaign, which spoke to the direct interests and concerns of students and other workers on campus. Instead of making the support for the service workers contingent upon an abstract sense of solidarity, it allowed people in the York community to concretely understand that a victory for food service workers would make it easier to achieve $15 and fairness for all workers.

The goal is not just to win legislative reform, it is also to build the confidence and capacity of workers to engage in this fight. ”

The solidarity effort fed off the strength of the workers. Their courage and convictions were the scaffolding of the work done by all the groups on campus. No one group aimed to divide, dominate, or take credit for the solidarity because the striking workers anchored and clarified what needed to be done. Everyone came to operate under the premise that many hands make light work … //

… (full text).

(Alia Karim and David Bush are Ph.D. students at York University. They are members of the Fight for $15 and Fairness club at York University. This article first published on the website).


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Heiligenschein wie Martin Schulz – Nuhr im Ersten, 46.10 min, hochgeladen von Comedy und Satire im Ersten, am 10. März 2017;

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heute noch relevanter: Verschwiegenes, Verharmlostes und Vertuschtes – Prof. Dr. Dr. Wolfgang Berger, 42.42 min, hochgeladen von Wissensmanufaktur, am 7. Okt 2014 … die Medien als Instrument der Gehirnwäsche …;

… and this:

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