Advisory For: Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Contact: Madison Cofield,


Despite Aramark’s Attempt to Bust Union, Kutztown University Dining Workers Vow to Continue Fight to End Mistreatment and Improve Service to Students


KUTZTOWN, PA — Driven by outrage over their low pay and poor working

conditions— as well as by serious concerns over how these issues impact students—

dining workers employed by Aramark at Kutztown University are vowing to escalate

pressure on their employer as the company continues to refuse to recognize their

union. As of today, Aramark has gone two full months without instituting a fair

voluntary recognition process for recognizing the dining workers’ union. Instead,

the company has endeavored to squash the workers’ campaign through

disinformation and intimidation tactics. But even in the face of Armark’s union

busting efforts, workers and their supporters among the university’s student body

have vowed to fight on.


“We have no choice but to keep fighting because we’re tired of being treated with

disrespect by managers who talk down to us or fail to value our opinions,” said

Sean Jones, Aramark at Kutztown University Employee and Member of the

KU Dining Workers United Organizing Committee. “We’re sick of losing our

health insurance during summer breaks and having to decide whether we go

uninsured over the break or try to rearrange our other bills so that we can afford to

maintain coverage through expensive COBRA plans. And we can no longer stand to

see the students, whom we love and take immense pride in serving, suffer from the

decline in service that management has brought about by driving away so many of

our former coworkers through exploitation and abuse.”


“I don’t think it can be repeated enough that Kutztown is the only university in the

[PA State System of Higher Education] where food service workers don’t have a

union,” said KU student and union supporter Matthieu Maier at a November

17th rally. “Aramark is hanging on by a little thread of power […] but we’re going to



Backed by students and faculty, Kutztown University dining workers launched their

campaign on October 21st of this year. A short time later, Aramark managers

responded by trying to bust the union, spreading disinformation about labor unions

and attempting to intimidate workers. In at least one instance, an Aramark

manager violated federal labor law in a closed-door meeting designed to intimidate

one of the workers, and the union has filed formal charges with the National Labor

Relations Board in connection with the incident.


Kutztown University dining workers are organizing with Workers United, the same

union that organized the successful Starbucks workers campaign in Buffalo, NY and

1,200 sewing workers for Canada Goose in Winnipeg, Canada.


Terilynn Isamoyer, Aramark at Kutztown University Employee and Member

of the KU Dining Workers United Organizing Committee, said:


“We are going to fight for as long as it takes for Aramark to recognize our

union, and sit down to negotiate a contract that gives us a voice on the job to

call out disrespect from management, provides higher pay, improves our

health insurance, and addresses the serious understaffing that makes our

jobs hell and undermines our ability to serve students. . And in this fight,

we’re grateful to have the backing of so many KU students, who know that

we’re doing this not only to improve life for ourselves and our families but

also so that we can better serve the entire campus community. Instead of

trying to create a climate of fear and confusion by engaging in union busting,

Aramark should do what’s in the best interest of workers and students and

come to the negotiating table.”


David Melman, Manager and Elected Leader of the Pennsylvania Joint

Board of Workers United, said:


“Workers United represents hundreds of Aramark employees across eleven

university campuses in Pennsylvania. Our members have always fought hard

to win strong union contracts, ones that provide fair pay and fair working

conditions. Even while fighting to win the best for our members, we have

enjoyed an amicable working relationship with Aramark. It is deeply

disappointing and deeply shameful that Aramark has chosen to fight our

union and its employees at Kutztown University through low-road,

fear-mongering tactics. Even more shameful are the poor working conditions

and declining service in KU dining halls. These workers deserve the fair pay

and fair treatment enjoyed by dining workers at every other university in the

PA State System of Education, and students deserve to know that their food

service provider is doing all it can to fully staff the dining halls and maintain

the high level of service that students pay for. Our members across

Pennsylvania are ready to stand in solidarity with KU’s dining workers and

students until Aramark meets these exceptionally reasonable demands.”

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