Article on Dining Hall leaves out facts

RE: Food Services accumulates tremendous deficit, Feb. 2

I am a staff member in the WLU Library.  As a union member and activist, I read Mike Lakusiak’s article concerning the deficit in Food Services with some dismay. 

I believe the article has a very anti-union tone, as it attributes a significant portion of the deficit to labour costs. 

The article says that wages and benefits make up approximately 37 per cent of the deficit in Food Services, “a level more than a tenth over what is normal in the restaurant industry.” 

But where did Mr. Lakusiak get these figures?  I assume the university provided them.  Why was no rebuttal sought from someone in UFCW Local 175, the group that represents the workers who apparently cost the university so much?  The article quotes both Dan Dawson and Gary Lambert from WLU, who are both managers. It even cites an Aramark manager, Ryan Lloyd-Craig, who adds that typical restaurant employees aren’t entitled to benefits at all. 

Any voice from the UFCW is notably absent.  And I strongly object to Mr. Dawson’s comment prominently displayed at the top of the article: “The collective agreement in place with UFCW was definitely not in the university’s best interests.”  A collective agreement is negotiated between two equal parties, the union and the employer.  I find it quite hard to believe that in 2009 the UFCW was able to hold the university hostage and extort from them such a one-sided collective agreement.   

On page 34 of the current collective agreement, you will see that Mr. Dawson signed the agreement in 2009 on behalf of the University.  This means that not only is he aware of its contents and bound by them, but that he was part of the negotiating team for the university that helped to originally draft it.  For him to come back now and say that the agreement, which he helped to draft, is not in the best interest of the university is disingenuous and disappointing.

—Doug Roberts

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