Council weighs in on arena worker dispute | Slag Heap

Council weighs in on arena worker dispute

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As we first reported a few weeks ago, a labor dispute has been breweing between employees at Mellon Arena and Aramark, the firm that holds the concession contract there. Aramark has notified workers that they must apply for their jobs when the arena is shuttered, and the Penguins move to the new Consol Energy Center across the street. 

Today, City Council weighed in on that dispute.

Below, we've reprinted a letter that city councilor Bruce Kraus asked to send to Aramark. The letter makes clear that council is siding with the workers. It demands that Aramark reverse its position and promise workers continued employment at the new facility. It also warns Aramark not to use an ongoing union dispute over representation as an excuse to change the terms of their employment. 

"Pittsburgh City Council will not stand-by and allow ARAMARK, or others, to put hardworking citizens out of work or create jobs that do not pay prevailing wages and meet area union standards," the letter warns.

"We stand with these employees," Bruce Kraus said in coucnil today. Aramark's behavior, he added was "simply unacceptable and inappropriate on every level." 

Other councilors agreed. Doug Shields said he was "appalled" at Aramark's position; council president Darlene Harris said it was "nonsense to have to reapply for your job when you're moving across the street." 

The text of council's letter follows:  

 

 

Whereas: the City of Pittsburgh is home to thousands of talented, dedicated and hard working men and women; and

Whereas: hundreds of these dedicated individuals, who have been long term ARAMARK employees and have served the Penguins and the community well for decades, are now being asked to reapply for their jobs, simply because the Penguins are moving across the street to the new Consol Energy Center; and

Whereas: these same hard working employees are not guaranteed a position at Consol Energy Center and are in danger of losing the seniority they have earned through their years of dedicated service; and

Whereas: the Council of the City of Pittsburgh commends these ARAMARK employees who have been loyal, dedicated, workers serving the fans of Pittsburgh Penguin hockey.

Therefore be it resolved: that the Pittsburgh City Council calls upon ARAMARK to:

  1. rescind its letter of February 12, 2010, to employees of Mellon Arena;
  2. agree that all existing ARAMARK employees will be offered employment in the new Consol Energy Center and notify all current ARAMARK employees at Mellon Arena that their jobs are not in jeopardy
  3. recognize that ARAMARK must comply with all applicable provisions of the One Hill Community Benefits Agreement – including the requirements to abide by union area standards; pay its employees prevailing wages; and hire any new employees through the Hill District First Source Center;
  4. acknowledge ARAMARK's obligation to comply with the existing union contracts and to negotiate successor contracts with the Union that legally represents the employees;
  5. allow the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to resolve the question which union legally represents ARAMARK employees, comply with the NLRB order, as soon as it is issued, and make no attempt to use the dispute between Workers United, SEIU and Unite Here to justify, or excuse, the actions set forth in the ARAMARK letter of February 12, 2010.

Be it further resolved, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh, recognizes that the move of the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Consol Energy Center will result in the creation and retention of hundreds of good jobs for the citizens of Pittsburgh and the surrounding region and supports the team in their statement that "the Penguin organization is pleased with ARAMARK'S services and wants all current employees to work in the new arena and retain their seniority".

And be it further resolved, that the Pittsburgh City Council will not stand-by and allow ARAMARK, or others, to put hardworking citizens out of work or create jobs that do not pay prevailing wages and meet area union standards.

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