Opinions, Staff Editorial: Fix J Street

Employees who staff GW dining facilities have filed another round of grievances against their employer, food service contractor Aramark. The last such grievances came in December 1999 and concerned many of the same issues as the current controversy, namely problems in the pay system and complaints concerning managers treating employees unfairly.

The mere presence of complaints does not necessarily indicate that Aramark managers are mistreating their employees, but those complaints do show that the work environment at GW’s dining facilities needs improvement. Employees and managers should resolve their differences – either informally or through the recent complaints made to union officials and the National Labor Relations Board – so that they do not lose sight of their most important goal: serving students.

Ultimately, management is responsible for promoting an adequate work environment free from harassment and other problems. If abuse is occurring, it must stop immediately. And any mistakes in compensation should be corrected as quickly as possible. Employees deserve to receive the money they earn.

But at the same time, employees have to treat their managers with respect. Management complains about recalcitrant employees who refuse to listen to instructions and argue inappropriately. Other complaints include employees who do not show up for their shifts and do not explain their absences. Such behavior is unacceptable in any working environment. Employees who behave this way should be fired.

The goal of food service at GW should be fast and courteous service for the customers – the students. Too often long lines and rude employees hamper this objective. Overcrowding does play a role, but adequately staffing dining facilities and improving the relations between managers
and employees would help tremendously.

Employees who feel harassed or under appreciated are understandably grumpy when the time comes to serve students. But management is responsible for fixing this problem and should do so. If problems continue, the University should scrap the Aramark contract and find another company willing to provide the environment and services employees and students deserve. This has gone on too long.

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