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Aramark workers strike at Wells Fargo Center; refuse to work Philadelphia 76ers-Detroit Pistons game

Philadelphia Aramark workers go on strike at Wells Fargo Center
Philadelphia Aramark workers go on strike at Wells Fargo Center 02:13

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Aramark workers went on a one-day strike and didn't work the Philadelphia 76ers-Detroit Pistons game at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night, Unite Here Local 274, the union representing workers, said. 

Workers hit the picket line outside the Wells Fargo Center before the game. 

"Our negotiations have been in good faith, but their responses have been lackluster at best and disrespectful at worst," Fred Motley, an Aramark employee, said. 

"Aramark grossed over a billion dollars with our help," he added.  

The strike comes after 92% of Aramark workers voted to authorize a strike at the end of March. The workers include cooks, servers, bartenders, dishwashers and warehouse employees. The union asked attendees at the Sixers game to not buy food or drinks from Aramark at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night and to eat elsewhere. 

Aramark said in a statement it had contingency plans to make sure services weren't halted for the game. 

"We have had several meetings with the bargaining committee in an effort to reach a new agreement, and we intend to keep working toward a settlement that works for everyone. In the event of a strike, we have contingency plans in place to ensure that services are not interrupted," Aramark wrote. 

Unite Here Local 274 is currently in negotiations with Aramark to demand better wages and health care benefits. The union says they're fighting for food service jobs at the South Philly Sports Complex to be like other year-round jobs with "healthcare and family-sustaining wages that keep up with inflation."

Aramark, the food service and facilities service provider, has its headquarters located in Philly. The company provides food and beverage service at Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field, along with the Wells Fargo Center. 

The union said Aramark "currently counts employees' hours worked at each building separately, even though workers are doing the same jobs for the same employer, which leaves many without healthcare benefits."

According to the Union, Aramark's latest counter proposal would only cover health insurance for 75 out of 1,400 employees working at the sports complex. 

"The union has demanded that Aramark determine health insurance eligibility for its employees at the Wells Fargo Center by aggregating all hours worked across the Stadium Complex and lower the threshold for eligibility," the union wrote. 

The union is also in negotiations with Aramark for a new collective bargaining agreement for food service workers at the Linc and CBP. 

After Tuesday night's game, the Sixers have two more regular season games remaining, which are both at home. They play the Orlando Magic on Friday night and finish out the regular season on Sunday against the Brooklyn Nets. 

The Philadelphia Flyers have two more home games this season against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday and the Washington Capitals next Tuesday, April 16. 

It's unclear whether Aramark workers will also strike at the aforementioned games at the Wells Fargo Center. 

Fans who attended Tuesday's game largely supported the striking employees. 

"They're the lifeblood, the logistics of all these facilities ... they do all the services," Rodney Cobbins said. 

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