Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Aramark's mess in Chicago schools pales in comparison to what they've done in Michigan prisons

Today's Detroit Free Press reports that a fired Aramark prison food worker filed a whistle-blower complaint Wednesday with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, alleging she lost her job for complaining about falsified records and kitchen practices that endangered health and food safety.

McVay alleges she was harassed and retaliated against for complaining about a lack of temperature monitoring in cooking; the serving of raw or undercooked meat; falsified records related to dishwater temperature and cleaning solution quality; the serving of meat that had been dropped on the floor; changing the dates on stored leftover food so it could be served after its throw-away date; suspected inflating of the count of meals served — part of the basis for which Aramark is paid by the state — among other issues.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's privatization of school janitorial services, handing them over to Aramark and SodexoMagic,  has left schools in a filthy mess with principals and parents (not to mention hundreds of laid-off workers) howling for change. But Aramark's mess at CPS pales in comparison to what they're doing in Michigan's prisons.

Michigan's Tea Party Gov. Rick Snyder, has turned the state into the vanguard of privatization in an attempt to bust the state's unions and fire higher-paid, experienced public employees, including teachers, without due process.

Aramark Correctional Services has had an astonishing record of incompetence in state after state, says MoTown columnist, Jack Lessenberry  In Ohio, there have been several near-riots in prisons after they ran out of food. Florida fired Aramark long ago for contract violations and for boosting their profits by skimping on inmate meals.

Kentucky did the same, after lousy Aramark food service provoked an actual prison riot. Later, an audit discovered what the state said were food quality issues and overbilling.

Ohio editorial writers have been urging that state's governor, the right-wing ideologue John Kasich, to fire Aramark for issues that include maggots in the food, staffing shortages, and running out of food, presumably to maximize profits.

Last December, Aramark (ARMK) began running Michigan’s prison kitchens under a three-year, $145 million privatization deal which eliminated about 370 union jobs and was supposed to make food service more efficient while saving the cash-strapped state millions.

But according to a Bloomberg Businessweek report, privatization hasn’t quite worked out that way.
More than 100 Aramark employees have been fired for alleged misconduct that included sneaking cell phones into prisons, distributing drugs, and having sexual contact with inmates. On Sept. 23 an Aramark worker at an Ionia prison was fired on suspicion that he’d tried to pay one prisoner to beat up another. The next day a worker at a maximum-security prison, also in Ionia, lost her job after corrections officers found a 65-page love letter she wrote to an inmate with whom she was allegedly having an affair.
In August, before the latest revelations, Snyder announced he was appointing Edwin Buss, who has run prison systems in Florida and Indiana, to independently monitor the Aramark contract. Buss’s annual salary of $160,000 will be covered by a $200,000 fine levied on Aramark by the Michigan Department of Corrections following reports of meal shortages and maggots in food served to prisoners. An additional $98,000 fine for infractions that included a dozen instances of “overfamiliarity” between employees and inmates was waived in March.

Detroit News
According to the Detroit News,
When maggots were repeatedly discovered in Aramark prison kitchens over the summer, it was consistently reported that the company previously had paid a $98,000 fine to the state for previous contract infractions. We’ve now learned that was not true. While the fine was levied against Aramark, it was never paid after Corrections director Dan Heyns intervened and told Gov. Rick Snyder’s office he would “tone down [his] attack dogs, delay or cancel any fines.”
Aramark's next big move -- health care. Yikes!

So Mayor Emanuel, what is it you like so much about Aramark? Please tell us.

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