Mistreated workers — staff editorial

J Street food service employees have been roiled in a dispute with Aramark management about problems with paychecks and poor treatment. With a petition filed to the D.C. Wage and Hour Board, J Street workers have taken appropriate measures to amend the disputes and Aramark should respond to the workers’ pleas in good faith.

In the case of the incorrect paychecks, J Street management asserts that the situation was corrected because workers were paid in petty cash the amount that was missing from paychecks.

Workers should never have to worry that they aren’t getting paid the correct amount. Payment for work is a fundamental right and failure upon management to ensure correct payment is simply egregious, breeds distrust among workers and creates a poor work environment.

Aramark management contends that the automated system wasn’t functioning properly, but problems with the system existed for months. If J Street management truly cared about its workers, the system would have been fixed immediately.

Food services workers’ complaints of harsh treatment by management also must be heeded. Workers protested the write-up policy. For instance, some workers were written up for missing work during the two snow days last month, which seems unfair.

Ultimately, the poor treatment of J Street workers by management affects students. An employee who is treated fairly by his or her superiors is obviously more likely to treat customers well. At J Street, harsh managerial tactics can put into motion a domino effect of bad attitudes and the losers are not only workers – but also the students who patronize J Street.

GW officials usually take the stance that the University has little say about dining services issues because Aramark is an independent contractor. While that is true, GW should still exert pressure on Aramark when necessary. With the lucrative contract that Aramark has with the University at stake, surely Aramark would respond to the concerns of GW’s administration.

J Street workers deserve to be treated fairly – incorrect paychecks and harsh treatment are unacceptable. J Street management must realize that workers who are treated well will probably treat customers well.

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