• PwC and Goldman Sachs – Better Check Your Chili

    By • Mar 18th, 2008 • Category: Goldman Sachs, PricewaterhouseCoopers


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    You know what they say… Never make the guy who makes your food mad!  (Or the mercenaries with US Army guns!)

    What else do PwC and Goldman Sachs have in common other than the vendor who provides their cafeteria services?

    PwC is Goldman Sachs external auditor. For now…

    Food workers fed up with Goldman Sachs

    Hundreds of people who work at the cafeterias of many of Wall Street’s largest investment banks staged a rally Wednesday in front of Goldman Sachs. All of them are employed by Aramark, a gigantic Philadelphia-based company that, according to its Web site, has about 250,000 employees serving clients in 19 countries. It is even listed in Fortune magazine as one of “America’s Most Admired Companies.” It also operates cafeterias all over the city.

    Its food-service employees, though, do not find much to admire in a company with a long history of hostility toward its workers.

    “Our contract expired Oct. 31, 1997, and since then we have negotiated with Aramark about seven times. But there has been no progress,” said Juan Ramírez, a cook at the Bank of New York cafeteria, at 101 Barclay St.
    Ramírez, who has two children, ages 6 and 3, is one of 32 striking workers at two Bank of New York cafeterias (the other one is at One Wall St.), in Manhattan’s Financial District. The workers are not asking for much.
    “We are asking for a 75-cent increase,” said Ramírez, who after six years makes $10.70 an hour. “Food, rent, transportation – everything has gone up. We can’t live on what we make now.”
    Most people would agree that a yearly salary of $660,000 is, to say the least, pretty good. And that was approximately what the average Goldman Sachs employee made last year. Lucky him. The workers in the cafeteria at the huge global investment bank and the other locations operated by Aramark are not so lucky. On average, they took home about $21,000 last year, which is less than what the average Goldman Sachs employee makes in two weeks.

    Technically, the Goldman Sachs cafeteria workers are not employed by the financial concern, but by Aramark.
    But as Bruce Raynor, president of Unite Here, the union that represents the workers, pointed out, Goldman Sachs owns 20% of Aramark. As one of the owners, he said, it could do much to help share the wealth and lift its cafeteria workers out of poverty.

    The decision to strike, workers said, did not come easily. But after more than four months working without a contract, the men and women – who belong to Unite Here Local 100 and SEIU 32BJ – felt they had no option.

    “They don’t have any respect for us,” said Betty Ann Montano, another striking worker, referring to her bosses. Since Tuesday, the Trinidad native, who has worked for Aramark for 8-1/2 years, has been on the picket line with her colleagues every day…

    AT PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Citigroup’s executive dining room, the workers are fighting for the right to decide, without management interference, whether they want a union. Aramark’s reaction has been a campaign of intimidation.

    Goldman Sachs is “in a position to change the company’s course,” Raynor said. “We expect Goldman and the other owners of Aramark to rein in this company’s behavior, or be held accountable for it.”

    They could start by making Aramark pay fair wages and provide affordable health insurance to its employees. And they could demand that Aramark treat its employees with respect and stop its practice of intimidating the workers who want to exercise their right to form a union.

    Clergy to support Aramark Workers at PricewaterhouseCoopers on Wed. March 19
    New York, NY: Clergy members will lead a special blessing of the Aramark workers at PricewaterhouseCoopers for their sacrifice and struggle for justice at a 3:30 p.m. rally on March 19th at 300 Madison Avenue. Easter lilies and daffodils will be handed to participants, as their beauty embodies the tradition of Easter. Clergy members are coming together in support of Aramark workers to urge PricewaterhouseCoopers to follow its own Code of Conduct and demand that workers in its own headquarters are treated with dignity and respect. PricewaterhouseCoopers generated $7.5 billion in revenues last year.

    Four months ago, cafeteria workers at PricewaterhouseCoopers asked Aramark to remain neutral while workers decide whether or not to have a union. Aramark has responded by intimidating and interrogating workers. Workers at PricewaterhouseCoopers continue to persevere, refusing to give up until Aramark honors their request. For this Easter event, they will be joined by Aramark workers who are currently on strike at Bank of New York, and their fight at PwC reflects a city-wide worker struggle against Aramark.

    Workers have asked PricwaterhouseCoopers to intervene, but their calls have gone unanswered. Workers and clergy will stand together to show that even in times of hardship, our faith remains strong, and our struggle for justice will continue.

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    15 Responses »

    1. Free Market. Don’t like the pay, get a different job.

    2. I’m all for upward mobility. But in this case, I think the point is Aramark and therefore Goldman Sachs have a lock on this type of job in many cities. We all can’t be CPAs, nor would I wish it on most people.

    3. Really? Has it come to this? Are you so desperate to report negative news about the Big 4 (PwC in particular) that you dig up a story about the workers in our cafeteria in one of our offices?

      And the beef isnt even with PwC, its between Aramark and their workers.

      -IJustWorkHere

    4. My focus is the Big 4 as an industry, as a form of business. The long running labor dispute between one of the firms and a significant vendor, a vendor that is also a large investment for one of their clients, is news. Given the fact that all of the firms are laying off professional staff, it’s of interest to me to look at their approach to the non-client service aspects of their business. The blog is about what I’m interested in. If anyone else is too, that’s gravy.

    5. haha seems like you’ve gotten under PWC’s skin a little francine…this isn’t the first unsubstantiated defensive post from a p-dub clone

    6. My parents think someone’s going to confront me in a dark alley. But, I’m Sicilian and I have a Rottweiler. I’m not afraid of any mechanical pencil wielding Poindexter…

    7. I’m sorry but this story is lame and you know it. Or rather, the story is relevant to the cafeteria workers that are affected and what Aramark is doing is completely unfair to them, but trying to link the controversy to PwC is lame.

      I fully support an accurate and interesting blog/discussion of the accounting and consulting industry. IMO articles like this one make the site seem desperate and reduce its effectiveness when there is actually something relevant to blog about.

      There are plenty of things to rip on PwC for. PwC not getting involved in a labor dispute between the cafeteria workers and Aramark at ONE of their offices should be at the bottom of the list.

      Maybe it was a slow news day.

      -IJustWorkHere

    8. The wave of negativity here is absolutely astounding.

      Extended comments fired up at ACS.

      In short, a bunch of you best not actually be working as accountants, otherwise, you really should be set up to be fired for gross incompetence. Unions matter, and if you’re obstructing union activities, I’m surprised your territory doesn’t have a law to make what you’re doing illegal.

    9. Francine:
      Is the point you’re trying to make that the Big Four’s pushing “diversity” and public service is a lot of hollow talk? If so, you made the point to me, but I suspect it blew right past many of your other readers.

    10. @Indepenndent Accountant – Yes, one of the subtle points is that all the talk and activity around diversity and service projects is, for management, just good business. In particular the service projects are based on what their clients are interested in or ask them to be involved in. At the individual level there are many wonderful people volunteering and acting in a giving and beautiful way. So at least they have a forum. But like the schools they recruit at, the list of organizations that are supported in any market is usually closed, closed, closed and based on senior partners self interest.

      My major point is the shared self interest between PwC and their client Goldman. When the chips are down, they act together like any other profit seeking corporation. They are both tied up with Aramark, which is mixed up in an ugly labor dispute.

    11. if the people from aramac woukd be working for mc donalds, they would prob. earn less and not be bothered if their customers earn more!

    12. […] may be that PwC has learned to play both clients like a fiddle from professional dancing bears like Arthur Levitt. As we discussed earlier, Levitt played a […]

    13. […] may be that PwC has learned to play both clients like a fiddle from professional dancing bears like Arthur Levitt. As we discussed earlier, Levitt played a […]

    14. […] may be that PwC has learned to play both clients like a fiddle from professional dancing bears like Arthur Levitt. As we discussed earlier, Levitt played a […]

    15. […] fan of Goldman Sachs on this blog.  Mr. Blankfein seems horribly smug to me, they do things like allow their vendors (who they also own) to squeeze their workers on their premises.  And then there’s the strange saga of their dispute with AIG over CDS […]

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