Real sharks protect FINS

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By Ellen Garnett
Staff Writer

Last year, a group of students, faculty, alumnae, and cafeteria workers formed a union called Fighting Injustice Now at Simmons (FINS) to negotiate better contracts with ARAMARK for Simmons cafeteria workers. Where are they now?

The union recently held their eighth meeting, which approximately 40 students and faculty attended, on Nov. 19 with representatives from ARAMARK, the corporation that hires our cafeteria workers.

You’ve probably seen the little shark fin flyers hanging up in your residence hall. Maybe you even liked them on Facebook. This is just the start of a movement which we should ALL take part.

Isn’t it hypocritical of us to be a college that preaches respect, equality, diversity, and social responsibility, and yet allow ARAMARK to delay the contract-bargaining process? Is this how we show our appreciation of our workers? Workers are struggling to pay their rent and feed their families. This is absolutely unacceptable, and quite frankly, embarrassing.

We are not a community that just sweeps the uncomfortable issues under the rug. What will it say about the integrity of Simmons College if FINS becomes a side-stepped issue?

FINS is not a group to be overlooked. They stand for the rights of our cafeteria workers to have livelihoods that can support them and their families. Isn’t that the ultimate goal at Simmons, to provide people (students and employees alike) with that opportunity? It is time for our college to take a step back and re-evaluate if we are living up to our standards. If you ask me, I would say that we are severely slacking, but this does not mean we should give up hope.

We should be wary of slacktivism (slack-activism) that simply involves going to the FINS Facebook website to ‘like’ their page. This is the first step to gain more information about the group. The next step is physically taking part in their meetings with ARAMARK to show how much they mean to us. At these meetings, we can speak up for our cafeteria workers and strengthen their efforts to receive better benefits such as more affordable health insurance, higher than poverty wages and a 401K plan, to name a few.

The Simmons community strives for inclusivity in every event and activity. By banding together with cafeteria workers, we can ensure that we are not cutting corners in our efforts for inclusivity. Students and faculty are starting to see Simmons as a whole and take on the responsibility of caring for one another.
We need to make it our priority to reach out to our workers as they reach out to us on a daily basis. These are not people who slop food on our plates like some assembly line. These are people who make the effort to get to know us and who go out of their way to make Simmons our home. It is only right that we return the favor.

Every day, they work to sustain us. Joining FINS is our chance to do the same for them.

*Editor’s Note: Since the time this article was originally submitted to the Voice, Aramark and the Local 26 have agreed to a contract.