What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 18, 2010

Workers Slam Aramark for Making Mellon Arena Workers Reapply for Own Jobs

Well this sucks!

Who: Workers United, SEIU, Affected Workers, Representatives from One Hill/Hill District Consensus Group, and the Hill District Community

Workers United, SEIU will hold a press conference tomorrow calling on Aramark to change its position on the transfer of Mellon Arena workers to the new Arena.

On February 12th Aramark notified its Mellon Arena employees that they would have to reapply for their jobs when they moved to their new location at the Consol Energy Center. They added that current employees were not guaranteed to get their jobs back. The letter also informed employees that they would not have a union when they started working at Consol Energy Center, meaning that the contract currently in place at Mellon will not be honored, and that the company would not have to honor workers’ seniority or existing wage and benefit standards. .


Workers United, SEIU, the union representing the employees, sees this as a ploy by Aramark designed to allow them to disregard seniority, lower wages and reduce benefits, and weaken or remove the union.

“The new arena is a publicly owned building. We can’t stand by and let this vendor use the move as an excuse to strip long term employees of seniority, cut wages or benefits, or strip workers of their union,” said Sam Williamson, Associate Manager of the Pennsylvania Joint Board of Workers United.


“The opening of this new arena should be a good thing for the neighborhood, the city and the region. But this move would give it a black eye. We’re calling on Aramark not to be a spoiler on what would otherwise be an all around celebration,” added Sam Williamson.


Chris Potter said...

Just FYI, we have a story out about the Aramark situation in the current edition of the paper.

Chris Potter said...

Oh man did this thing ever turn out to be a clusterfuck.

G Ryin said...

yea, its a big mess. we've been dealing with these kind of squabbles for months.

susan scattaregia said...

The sad fact be known that S.E.I.U. has interjected itself into the affairs of Unite Here International Union a year ago. While there may have been a dispute at the highest level of Unite Here's governing body, S.E.I.U. Was front and center! This has led to an all out war for the members of Unite Here nationaly and here for Local 57 in Pittsburgh.

Mellon workers jobs, seniority, benefits and their contracts are at great risk. Aramark isn't the only management company toying with the lives of it's workers here in Pittsburgh because of the interference by S.E.I.U.

Unite Here is and has been the union to represent the workers in the stadiums, hotels, convention center and Mellon for decades.

So where does S.E.I.U. come in?

When the Pa. Joint Board said so...
The Joint board left Unite Here and attemped to take the members of Unite Here Local 57 with them. The elected officers of Local 57 weren't convinced this was the right thing for our members and fought back. You see the Pa. Joint Board was only a part of local 57 for about 4 yrs. When they came here they took ultimate control! The membership no longer had a voice in the business of the local.

It's the members like Bea Binion who has worked as a Food service worker at Mellon arena for 46 years. It is the workers who have fought for their contracts, benefits and standards. It is the workers in Mellon arena who dicide who their union is. NOT S.E.I.U. & NOT ARAMARK !
A majority of the Mellon workers have spoken, written, delegated and bottoned up saying Unite Here Local 57 is their union.

Aramark this is dirty and the employees deserve better. Give the employees the respect, dignity, and their JOBS THEY HAVE EARNED IT FOR DECADES.
Pa. Joint Board of S.E.I.U. Leave and get out of our business, you are hurting the members not helping.

Maria said...


I'm trying to speak to both UNITE HERE and SEIU today as a follow-up to this post.


Anita Renner said...

Just wanted you to know...

SEIU/Workers United IS NOT AND WILL NEVER BE the union representing the Mellon Arena workers (or any other properties members for that matter)! The members/workers have decided to stay with UNITE HERE LOCAL 57, last year (2009) shortly after this "RAID" went public in March. Yes I said "RAID." It is been all over the Internet.

A Little fact finding history you may or may not know...
Last year in February, when the "merger" failed between the two Presidents of Unite Here International Union, SEIU felt that they needed to help (themselves) with (to) the confused and helpless rank and file members of Unite Here. So SEIU being a union who appoints their leaders from the top down, formed a "ghost" union (Workers United) to "raid" the confused and/or unwilling (to leave) members of Unite Here all over the country. In the process of trying to destroy the spirit of Unite Here's union and members. With that said, Unite Here being a rank and file, from the bottom up union, the Rank and file members took a stand and decided to stand up against the "bully" who was "raiding" their union. Not only are they fighting back but they are winning! They are backed by mostly all of the International Labor Unions and Local Unions. These Union Leader have demand the "raid" to stop! but, SEIU still won't listen...

Which brings us back to now, in Pittsburgh.

Even the local Political leaders of the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are backing Unite Here Local 57! (There are letters proving this, along with actions taking place from some of them.)

Because of SEIU "raiding" Unite Here Local 57, and across the country, it is giving the bosses what they want! A union that won't stick up for or represent the members/workers. A back door union. A union that will be the boss' union! "A NO BALLS UNION!" And that union IS: SEIU/WORKERS UNITED!!!


Anita Renner said...

There are 15 properties in Local 57 that expire this year. (First up is the Sheraton Hotel, then the Mellon and so on...) Because of this "raid" management refuses to recognize any union. (So they claim.) That is why ARAMARK had sent out that letter to the Mellon workers.
Sam Williamson of the PA Joint Board SEIU/WORKERS UNITED, who thinks he represents the workers at Mellon Arena, called a press conference on Thursday afternoon. Unite Here Local 57 members (including Reps) were invited to the press conference, by Mr Williamson. He personally invited them. (Not that they needed invited to their OWN house!!!) Mr Williamson, being who he is, acted like Unite Here was invading the Press Conference. He flagged down a TV station on the side of Mellon Arena, facing the Epiphany Church (not the New Arena), without waiting for Unite Here Mellon Arena workers or the rest of the Media, who where waiting at Gate 3 of Mellon Arena where the Press Conference was to be. Mr Williamson began his lies to the media by stating that he represents the workers at the Mellon Arena. Unite Here Members surround him as these lies spilled out into the air. These proud members did not say a word. When Mr Williamson was finished, Unite Here began to tell their own side of what's going on at the Mellon Arena. Mr Williamson and his HIRED staff of his "Ghost" union, Workers United/SEIU, who DID NOT work at Mellon Arena (except for two), started to yell and scream at the Unite Here members. Not really too professional of the SEIU and Mr Williamson, now is it?

The Unite Here members ARE the "ACTUAL" workers of the Mellon Arena NOT SEIU! Mr Williamson left that out during "his" press conference. He stated that he was the Representation of Mellon Arena. WRONG!
Mellon Arena (Civic Arena/Consol Energy Center) was, has been and will always be a Unite Here Union House! Did you know that there is over 75% (and growing every day) of Mellon Arena workers that said they want Unite Here to continue to be their one and only union.

Mr Williamson and SEIU, who refuse to listen to the workers and has tried to continue to raid, hijack and play interference with the members. Making it nearly impossible for the workers to concentrate on their jobs when their contract is about to expire. Not only are the Members/workers fighting to keep their jobs and fighting the bosses but they are fighting a raid from another union.
Is this fair? I don't think so! Is it the truth? Yes. I've talk with many of the members...on both sides.I've spent alot of time and done alot of research.
You see, I can speak for at least 75% of the Mellon Arena Workers. I work at Mellon Arena for 26-27 years. Mellon Arena is MY house. The Workers and Unite Here Members are MY family! I am a PROUD member of UNITE HERE LOCAL 57!!!

G Ryin said...

Guys... you aren't being completely honest.

First off, the press conference was called by Sam Williamson to address the letter sent to all of us (mellon arena employees) by Aramark, NOT TO SWAY THE PUBLIC ONE WAY OR ANOTHER ABOUT OUR UNION DISPUTE. Please note that no one brought up anything about Unite HERE or SEIU until a pro-unite here supporter spoke about "raids" and such.

I was a participant in the 2009 vote. There was NOTHING on the ballot that was partial to EITHER side. In fact, all options on the ballot were quite impartial.

And Anita, you say that Sam Williamson is NOT and NEVER was a rep for the workers, but I ask you to please look at the names on the most current contracts at the Mellon Arena. On both the Arena and Igloo Club contracts, you will find the name of one, Sam Williamson.

Now I will agree with you that the PA Joint Board has only been affiliated with us for about 4 years. But if you look at this article published by the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, you can begin to see how exactly they, and Sam Williamson got involved.


This happened on his first day on the job at Local 57. He walked into a mine field and pulled us out of corrupt representation that were misappropriating funds on a LOCAL LEVEL (our money!!!!) and got us back on track. You can see that in both mellon contracts.

You say SEIU is a union that appoints officials. They they go "top down" as opposed to "bottom up".

First off...in my time with Local 57, Unite HERE, I never got to vote on an official. If I did, I would have voted against Zach, VP of Local 57, and one of the most racist and insensative people I have ever met. (I was his barback for 2 and 1/2 seasons, and when he left, my work life got much better). Second off, there is nothing that I have learned in working with Workers United, PA Joint Board that says to me they are a "top down" union.

Alot of that reherotic was brought by Carlos. When I met with him from August-November of 2009, that notion was at the forefront of every meeting. But we have to remember that, like every other UniteHERE organizer in PGH right now, he is PAID TO BE HERE BY UNITE HERE. None of them are from PGH. None of them have worked on our contracts. None of them have relationships with any governing bodies in the city of PGH.

Alot of people say to me "I've been there for 20+ years, you can't tell me anything." To you I say this: I havn't been there for 20 years. Only 7, in fact. But make no mistake, I want keep my job for the NEXT 20 years. I want to build, and maintain the standard of contracts that are representative of the city of pgh. And above all, I want a union that is more interested in fighting the boss than fighting eachother.

Carlos has said to me many times, "All I want to do is kick the boss' butt". But it really seems that UniteHERE is more interested throwing around allogations of "raids" and "bullies" instead of doing productive work to fight for workers.

G Ryin said...

That is a big part of why I allign myself with the PA Joint Board. Because where Carlos says he wants to fight the boss, Sam actually does. There wouldn't have been a press conference if it weren't for Sam. He called Dan Onorato. He called Yucipa. He called Carl Renwood. He notified the press. He wrote the letter to aramark, not asking them to decide which union is our union, but to retract the statement made to workers.

How can you not see that he is working on ALL of our behalf, not just SEIU, or the Joint Board, or WU?

Also ask yourself this: when the NLRB makes its decision (a process which UniteHERE itself asked to start) where is Carlos gonna go? He's from LA, not PGH. Where is McKenzie gonna go? She's from boston, I believe.

Sam is gonna go home, to his family, in Highland Park. Joe is gonna continue to work one or two nights at Lemont's (lol, thats his calling card). My point is that these people live here, have families here, and continue to contribute to our community.

I can't say the same for anyone organizing for UniteHERE in the region. Now, I could be wrong, but if I am, please tell me. It would make me feel much better about the future.

G Ryin said...

One final thought: next time you see Sam Williamson, ask him what he's gonna do if UniteHERE wins the labor board decision.

Then ask Carlos what he'll do if SEIU wins.

I know the answer cause I've asked them both, but I think if you do, you will see which reps are for the workers, and which reps are for fighting other unions.