By Don Sucha
Editor, the Gauntlet,
Re: “Privatization better than some think,” Apr. 7, 2005,
On behalf of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Local 52 Anti-Privatization committee, I would like to comment on your article.
AUPE researchers conducted a Food Service Provider Survey of students’ unions across Canada and found that, amongst those contacted for whom Chartwells was the provider, six out of seven of the students’ unions gave Chartwells bad reviews. Complaints included poor menu selection with lack of healthy choices, problems with exclusivity, problems with availability of items, high prices, poor food quality, poor staffing, and a complete lack of environmental sustainability practices.
We received comments such as “Students view it a sub-par arrangement” (Nova Scotia Agricultural), “Even the university is not impressed with them” (Cape Breton University), “Chartwells is difficult to deal with; they do listen to us, but little change occurs” (University of Winnipeg).
The most telling comment, however, came from Connor Quinn, the President of the Students’ Union at Bishops University who said, “Please tell Bryan West, the President of the Students’ Union, who I know quite well, to rethink their plans to contract out to Chartwells. Learn from our experience–students will most certainly be the losers.”
Privatization efforts on campus, such as the privatization of University Health Services, and caretaking at the MacEwan Students Center, have failed time and time again and, in the two cases mentioned, have reverted back to services operated by our members. Not only does privatization make no financial sense, it makes no sense from a community point of view.