Aramark reduces student workforce due to campus closures

Aramark laid off 35 student workers and isn’t offering services this semester


Since the campus shut down in March, Aramark has laid off 35 students. (Photo illustration by Emily Mello)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in American River College closing its campus until at least the spring 2021 semester, Aramark has also closed the ARC cafeteria and franchising operations. It also reduced the workforce of Aramark student employees.

According to its website, Aramark provides food services, facilities, and uniform services to hospitals, schools and universities, and other businesses worldwide. Aramark is the food service provider for ARC and runs Starbucks, Subway as a franchisor, and the cafeteria.

According to Frank Gleason, a general manager for Aramark, the unknown nature of the virus, and the Los Rios Community College District’s decision to remain online factored into reducing staff.

“We had to make the difficult decision of reducing our workforce. Managers and hourly associates, including our 35 student workers, were a part of this reduction,” Gleason said.

Workers have been given resources for financial assistance after being laid off, according to Gleason.

“We have provided them with resources to assist with applying for unemployment benefits,” Gleason said. “Once we are permitted to reopen, we will begin hiring student workers again.”

According to Alfonso Gonzales, a former student worker for the Aramark Starbucks franchise on the ARC campus, the campus coffee shop didn’t shut down until the college did.

“They kept us all on board until just recently,” Gonzales said.“I can’t remember the exact date, but our jobs were secure up until the point that COVID-19 hit hard.”

The workers weren’t paid for the time that they didn’t work, according to Gonzales.

“We were only compensated for the hours that we were working,” Gonzales said.

Currently, Aramark isn’t serving the limited number of students on campus this semester due to LRCCD guidelines.

“[The district] asked that we keep our operations closed in the interest of safety and to allow for proper social distancing,” Gleason said.

According to Gleason, Aramark has a plan in place for when the LRCCD campuses open back up.

“We have developed a dining reopening plan that includes enhanced cleaning procedures, proper PPE for our employees, employee temperature monitoring, and allowing for social distancing,” Gleason said.