After a series of protests in the past few weeks calling for better benefits and higher wages, USC subcontractor Aramark agreed on a new contract with USC custodians on Saturday to increase wages and to reduce health insurance expenses.
According to Cesar Quiles-Borrero, the Service Employees International Union United Service Workers West Internal Organizer, the agreement was ratified by 98.5 percent of the union.
Workers at USC will receive a $3 rate increase over the course of the four-year contract with Aramark. While the average custodian is currently being paid $12.50 per hour, they will earn $15.50 by 2021. The first wage increase will start this year on July 1.
“Addressing the issues must matter to a company like Aramark because employees’ satisfaction translates to an effective work crew,” Quiles-Borrero said in an email to the Daily Trojan. “It was due that the workers received a comprehensive package. By January 2021, current employees will be an estimated $1.10 above minimum, that is an impressive improvement. Under the new terms, many of then can continue been part of the Trojan Family for many years to come.”
In regard to health insurance, the out-of-pocket expenses for the plan will decrease to 6.75 percent on June 1 and eventually to 6 percent in 2021.
Aramark has also implemented other regulations in the new contract, such as a stipend of $35 per year to purchase a pair of work shoes from the company’s collection. This amount will eventually be raised to $40 on Jan. 1, 2020.
“We respect and value our employees who work at USC, and are pleased to reach an agreement that works for everyone,” Karen Cutler, vice president of corporate communications at Aramark, said in a statement to the Daily Trojan.
According to Quiles-Borrero, over 200 families will benefit from the new contract.
“The custodians are happy and very grateful with the students, the bargaining committee and their Union,” Quiles-Borrero said in an email to the Daily Trojan. “We do not believe that is all that they deserve, but it’s a decent compensation for all the hard work they do. We will return in 45 months stronger and hungrier than ever to protect and gain more benefits.”