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Food service at Michigan prisons locked in dispute

Two unions have stepped up and challenged the way that food service is being handled at prisons in Michigan, including those in Detroit, but no steps have so far been taken to get past the issue, as the sides appear to be deadlocked. This means that Aramark, which has been serving food, is going to continue to do so for the foreseeable future, though the debate continues.

The issue started when the state decided that the food services should be privatized. Saying that the quality of the service would decline, the unions decided to fight that decision. They also said that more safety concerns could arise if they went through with the privatization of the system.

The commission, however, has not given any ground on the issue. The unions are threatening to go to the state courts to get a ruling. Until this is done, though, the contract that was already in place has to be honored, which is why Aramark still gets to continue operating in the way that it has been.

There have been a number of issues marring the work that Aramark has done in the past, however. For one thing, many employees have been accused of getting too close with the prisoners that they are serving, and some of them have even been banned. In one case, a worker brought marijuana into the prison.

When employment contracts have to go to the courts in order to be resolved, the process can often take a long time. However, for essential services like food service in prisons, it is important to note that the services will not be cut off simply because the contract is under dispute.

Source: WILX, "Deadlock on Prison Contract Dispute" No author given, May. 08, 2014

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