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Aramark workers in NYC threaten to strike

NEW YORK Foodservice workers employed at a number of Manhattan-based corporate-dining accounts operated by contract feeder Aramark Corp. plan to organize a strike unless the company agrees to increase wages and improve benefits before contract talks at those locations expire over the next two months, union officials said.

The announcement was made at a rally organized by UNITE-HERE Local 100 in lower Manhattan, and was attended by several local politicians including New York City comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. and Councilwoman Christine C. Quinn. A strike date has not yet been set.

Businesses that could be affected by the strike include financial firms New York Life, AIG, Citigroup and Price Waterhouse Coopers as well as the Reuters news service.

“There will be a major citywide push until Aramark agrees to better wages and benefits and gives workers the rights to organize,” said UNITE-HERE spokesman Jonathan Rosen.

“We are moving toward a potential strike that would shut down foodservice at those [accounts],” he added. “This is the clients’ problem, too... They need to do right by the people who provide foodservice in their shops.”

Rosen said approximately 800 employees work for Aramark at unionized shops in New York City while another 350 are employed at nonunionized accounts.

Aspokeswoman for Aramark said the company is committed to working toward an agreeable solution.

“We’ve had several meetings ... and strongly believe we’ve made a fair and comprehensive offer at each of these locations,” spokeswoman Kristine Grow said. “We regret the union is taking this action and intend to work toward settlements that work for everyone. We will, however, continue to serve our clients as they need to be served and will have contingency plans in place.”

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