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Loyola University Chicago Letter to Unite Here, Local 1 about Aramark Employees

"Dear Ms. Kent,

Thank you for your email to President Rooney concerning Loyola’s support of Aramark workers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  We deeply empathize with these affected employees as we prioritize our work and resources to tirelessly care for members of our own community.

Not unlike other institutions of higher education, the pandemic has decimated our current year’s budget in ways that could not be foreseen. We have already implemented numerous initiatives to meet the immediate needs of Loyola’s students, faculty, and staff. 

In addition to the impact of shortening the spring semester, vacating our residence halls and repatriating hundreds of students from our study abroad programs, we continue to receive daily requests from students who are having difficulty meeting neighborhood rent obligations, buying food and covering other basic living expenses.  Our team meets with each student to do our best to help them during this challenging time, but our resources are finite and, as you have seen reported, the end of this crisis is unpredictable.

With campuses closed and some Loyola staff not able to work remotely, we have implemented extended paid time off for these same staff to provide them with some security and financial safety. The uncertainty of the fall semester looms large in terms of the number of students enrolling, the level of occupancy that will be permitted in our residence halls by public health officials, and a significant increase demand for emergency hardship funds that our students will require due to impact on their families. Our financial ability to continue to support our own faculty and staff at the same level will be tested in the weeks ahead.

Taking care of our campus community is and must remain an integral part and focus of our Jesuit mission and ideals.  Our limited resources force us to make difficult decisions and establish priorities that will not place additional undue hardship on our students, faculty, and staff. Like Loyola, we hope that Aramark and others will do all they can to support their workers through this trying time.  We are not in a position to support the employees of Aramark or our other campus vendors.

The challenges we face, together, demand a selfless and committed approach by each and every institution and organization. We value our partnership with Aramark and its workforce in serving an important need for our student population. It is our hope that we are able to rebuild our work together, reflective of a new normal which we must all navigate."

Sincerely,

Wayne Magdziarz
Sr. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer