HomeAmericasPoliticsState Senator Nikil Saval Arrested At Rally For Workers

State Senator Nikil Saval Arrested At Rally For Workers

State Senator Nikil Saval Arrested At Rally For Workers

State Senator Nikil Saval Arrested At Rally For Workers

India-West News Desk

PHILADELPHIA, PA − State Senator Nikil Saval was arrested during a rally protesting Aramark’s treatment of Philadelphia stadium workers. The rally, on June 12, organized by the labor union Unite Here, aimed to highlight the poor wages and inadequate healthcare benefits provided to concessions workers at Philadelphia’s major sports venues.

“The labor of Unite Here workers is a crucial part of what makes Philadelphia great,” Saval said in a statement following his arrest. “They work year-round—in the blistering cold, in the sweltering heat—to ensure Philly’s residents and visitors enjoy the best possible experiences. And in return, Aramark has repeatedly devalued their labor, leaving them forced to choose between feeding their families, keeping their homes, or seeking potentially lifesaving medical care. I refuse to let my constituents be mistreated by a wealthy corporation that gets richer every year from exploiting their labor. Their fight is my fight. I’m with them until they’re paid the wages and benefits they deserve.”

Aramark, an international company with a revenue exceeding $18 billion in 2023, manages food and beverage concessions at Philadelphia’s stadiums. It has proposed a minimal wage increase of only $0.25 for workers at the Wells Fargo Center. Additionally, Aramark’s healthcare proposal has been criticized for leaving many year-round workers either uninsured or dependent on government healthcare programs.

Saval’s parents immigrated to the US from Bangalore. In 1982, the year Saval was born, his parents opened a pizza restaurant, where Saval spent much of his childhood and adolescence. The employees of the restaurant were immigrants of all statuses, and Saval’s parents helped many of them secure documentation. His family’s experiences, as immigrants and as small business owners, were formative for Saval, giving shape to his perspective on workers’ rights and his first experiences with solidarity.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside Aramark’s global headquarters, demanding fair wages and healthcare benefits for Aramark workers at the Wells Fargo Center, Citizens Bank Park, and Lincoln Financial Field. The protest intensified as fifty individuals, including Senator Saval, sat down on Market Street during rush hour, effectively closing the street and resulting in their arrest. The rally underscores ongoing tensions between labor unions and Aramark, with workers demanding family-sustaining wages and comprehensive healthcare benefits, the Philadelphia Senate Democrats said.

Saval has focused his legislative work on critical response to Pennsylvania’s ongoing housing, mass incarceration, wage, and climate crises.

Saval is married to Shannon Garrison, a historic preservationist, the couple have two sons Ishaan and Mayukh.

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