After three years of struggle, full and part-time employees of Aramark at Carleton University in Ottawa have won their union after the employer formally agreed to recognize a majority of workers signing union cards

Precarious labour, layoffs, low pay, little regard for workers’ safety, job insecurity, and frequent bureaucratic and managerial denial of rights and benefits characterized the experience of Aramark workers at Carleton, not to mention the experience at most “modern” jobs in Canada today.

Food service at Carleton, which divides hundreds of workers into a dozen or so disconnected shops or outlets, exemplifies many of the problems facing workers’ struggle in our so-called “service” economy.

As always, the bosses went to great lengths to foment division between workers, especially between different strata of workers in each shop, in order to promote the illusion that the workers are “children” in the “family” of the boss.

Over three years, a dedicated committee of dishwashers, cooks, cleaners, servers and cashiers organized countless meetings with their fellow workers and held demonstrations. While there were many high and low points in the struggle and the workers were very under resourced, it was through the commitment and leadership among the workers themselves that the union was won.

The experience of the workers shows that militant leadership exists in every place where workers are exploited, and that all workers can band together and defeat the bosses. The protracted fight of the workers to win a union, especially in a modern, unorganized industry, is a virtual crash course in solidarity and discipline.

While the unions are not calling for the final defeat of capitalism through revolution, they can nevertheless act as a “boot camp” for militant workers in their direct struggle for safety, health, and dignity.

Partisan extends its most heartfelt and fraternal congratulations to the Carleton University food service workers, and to all workers struggling for their own interests against the capitalists.

e p D T F s