Photo Courtesy of Carlos Vera
When we decided to come to AU, we all signed up to pay the insanely high tuition, so it’s no surprise when the bill comes around and you find yourself applying to obscure online essay contests. We all obediently scroll through databases when the librarian comes to class and teaches us, for the seventh time, how to search for primary and secondary sources while we wonder if we could get a tuition cut by agreeing to never use the Popular Reading or Physics guide again..
But the big one for me is when I see our housekeeping workers trekking through snow storms to clean up vomit covered showers in Letts, being forced to clean all of SIS alone, and being tasked with countless other chores, all while being told that the students don’t care about them and if they complain, their union won’t help.
After greeting these sweet women in the hallways for almost two years, it makes me wonder where exactly all of our excessive tuition is going if none of it is going to them. I know two places for sure that I wouldn’t consider of more value than our workers: Kerwin’s salary as we’ve delved into before, and (this one is really a gross misuse of power), the cleaning of Kerwin’s personal home every Tuesday by one of these workers. This is contracted under Aramark.
Under Aramark, the provider AU uses for its Housing and Dining workers, this is the kind of treatment we see—treatment with no respect and not nearly enough money or benefits for the thankless tasks our workers do. Over the next few weeks as part of a larger series on Aramark, we will uncover who Aramark is, who our workers are, how they are treated, as well as all the wrong places where our money is really going. We, as students and the providers of money to this university, can demand a higher level of respect for the people who work hard to serve us day in and day out. Let’s make it happen.