Aftermath Complicated If Aramark Contract Is Terminated - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Aftermath Complicated If Aramark Contract Is Terminated

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(WLNS) - Discontent over the food supplier contract with the state of Michigan isn't going away and the fate of that contract is still in question.

6 News Nick Perreault says if the state were to sever its contract with Aramark what happens next raises big questions.

"You have to go through the cure to cut out the disease.”

As the list of Aramark employees who have been given stop orders and fired, now is over 80. Michigan's Corrections Organization says officers are ready to take back the jobs they had just six months ago.

"A couple hundred of those laid off food workers became correctional officers, so if they decided to return, they'd have a couple hundred right away, able to go back,” said Mel Grieshaber, Executive Director, Michigan Corrections Organization.

Grieshaber couldn't confirm how many have agreed to take their old jobs back, but says the department deserves that chance.

"If the department is aggressive with the cooperation of the correctional officers, I believe that the transition could take a matter of weeks, not many months.”

Sounds like a plan, but Russ Marlan and the Department of Corrections says it's not that simple.

"You know any option is going to be difficult going forward.”

Marlan says some 350 positions would need to be filled and finding the people to fill those positions wouldn't be easy.

"They're either working as corrections officers for us, they retired, they went out and found other jobs,” said Russ Marlan, spokesman, Department of Corrections.

That would mean giving more responsibility to those corrections officers that stay as officers in a system, a system that's already hurting for help.

"Mel Grieshaber says though they are short, should be at about 7000 employees moving correctional officers back into food services would be worth a tough transition.”

"The former food service workers were professionals, they knew their job they understood the climate in there, they could pat down prisoners if they suspected a prisoner had something on them."

Thanks to specific training that Grieshaber says the correctional officers had and says it's time they get their jobs back.

The Department of Corrections says another difficult part of the switch would be the food itself terminating the contract with Aramark would mean the state would have to find another provider for meals and food storage.
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