U of T and CUPE 3261, the union representing service workers at the university, have agreed to a waiver for former Aramark employees that will allow them to receive benefit entitlements without having been employed by the university for a minimum of 60 days.This exception to the collective agreement — which still requires employees to have been employed a minimum of 60 days by the university in order to receive benefit entitlements — comes in light of allegations that the university was denying sick leave benefits to workers suffering from terminal illnesses or serious long-term conditions who had been working for Aramark before the university assumed control of food services.William* has been working in food services at the university since before Aramark’s contract was taken over by the university. He contacted The Varsity early last week alleging that he and at least one other worker were being denied paid sick leave for serious conditions as a result of the 60-day employment requirement.William said that he reached out to human resources and Allan James, the president of CUPE 3261, about his case.U of T Media Relations Director Althea Blackburn-Evans told The Varsity the waiver of the 60-day requirement would apply to former Aramark employees’ and this waiver came in response to the claims that former Aramark employees were not going to receive benefits under the current agreement.“It’s a negotiated exception to the requirement in the collective agreement; the requirement will continue to apply to all other employees, unless the University and the CUPE negotiate something different,” she said, and that “CUPE is signing off on this exception [on December 2].”In August, U of T took over its in-house food services after choosing not to renew its contract with Aramark earlier that year. The changeover prompted a number of rallies hosted by UNITE HERE Local 75, which represents food service workers in Toronto, primarily raising concerns about whether the workers would have to be re-interviewd, whether they would keep their seniority, and if they would have to be subject to a 90-day probationary period of employment.James did not respond to The Varsity’s requests for comment.*Name changed at individual’s request— With files from Tom Yun.
Published: 4:23 am, 5 December 2016