On May 1, almost 300 employees at FGCU could be losing their jobs.
According to FGCU, 1,335 students have been employed for the fiscal year 2016. Two-hundred and five of those students are Aramark employees joined by 83 additional non-student workers, according to Aramark.
On Feb. 26, those 288 employees received a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice, which is a document typically sent out in instances of mass layoffs, notifying them that their employment is expected to be terminated on May 1 in light of Chartwells’ dining contract take over.
“Aramark very much values the contributions of our employees, and we are particularly proud of the service they have provided at FGCU throughout our successful 10-year partnership,” said Aramark spokesperson Karen Cutler in a statement over email. “Since 2006, Aramark has developed, implemented and continuously enhanced FGCU’s residential, retail and catering programs, resulting in increased customer satisfaction, revenue growth and operational improvements.”
However, in the WARN, Aramark noted that although the company would be terminating its employees that there were potential opportunities with Chartwells.
“As a result of the closing… Aramark expects to permanently terminate the employment of its employees at Florida Gulf Coast University,” the WARN says. “It is our understanding that the successor employer is beginning to speak to these employees.”
Chartwells confirmed that former Aramark employees will have opportunities with Chartwells.
“All associates at the campus will be eligible for employment with Chartwells and our teams will ensure the hiring process runs as efficiently and effectively as possible,” said Chartwells Communications Director Kristine Andrews.
“Chartwells is dedicated to attracting, retaining and developing great people in a diverse workforce and provides individuals with opportunities for professional and personal growth,” she said. “ We welcome all associates to apply.”
Joe McDonald, FGCU’s Associate Vice President for Administrative Services and Finance said that the company has been working with employees to help them along in the process.
“We had a town hall meeting with all the (Aramark) employees and Chartwells,” McDonald said. “They were there to help with employees filling out applications on Chartwells’ online platform, apply for managerial positions and update their resumes.”
According to McDonald, Chartwells has already began scheduling interviews with the Aramark employees.
In January, FGCU signed a 10-year contract with Chartwells, who plans to replace several existing dining locations on FGCU with dining such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Boar’s Head Deli, Burger Fi, Papa John’s and a North Lake diner. The contract is the result of a year of research, focus groups and contract negotiations.
Chartwells will take over dining services at FGCU on May 2.