Things That Matter

Aramark Is Fighting Against The Claim That This Latina Worker Was Unjustly Fired

Aramark, a food service company, is facing a serious backlash after firing a long-time employee from its American University branch. Ana Ebanks, an immigrant from Honduras, recently missed 40 minutes of work from her job at a dining hall. According to a recent Facebook post, that led to Ebanks being fired after 10 years of service.

Facebook post by a former AU student named Carlos Vera claims that Ebanks was fired after missing 40 minutes of work. Her reason for being late? Ebanks was taking a class at American University.

Credit: Carlos Mark Vera / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Carlos Mark Vera / Facebook

Just days before being fired by Aramark, Ana received a full-ride scholarship to attend the Latin Legum Magister program at American University’s Washington College of Law. Josselyn told mitú that her mother fled from Honduras 13 years ago, leaving behind her law career for safety in the U.S. (Ebanks was the subject of a Washington Post profile in 2010).

Ana’s classes were all at night, except for one that was in the middle of the day. “She went to her supervisors and told them about this recent win of the scholarship,” Josselyn told mitú. “They didn’t take it well.”

Ana’s daughter believes her mother’s outspokenness is what led to Ana being fired.

Credit: Ebanks Josselyn / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Ebanks Josselyn / Facebook

According to her daughter, Josselyn Ebanks, Ana has been an outspoken member of the Aramark team since the organization took over food services for the university.

“When Aramark came on board of the food service workers they promised wonders: truth is they are bad,” Josselyn told mitú. “They were creating a bad situation there but mom stood quiet. She would go to student meetings and speak on behalf of all workers and ask them to help us fight against them.”

But Ana tried to work things out with her managers beforehand to avoid a bad situation, according to Vera and Josselyn.

Credit: Carlos Mark Vera / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Carlos Mark Vera / Facebook

According to Josselyn, Aramark management, Ana and some shop stewards representing Ana met to establish accommodations so Ana could take her class. A verbal agreement was reached.

“On Wednesday there was a meeting where they promised verbally [that] they would accommodate her, but on Thursday, they called the union shop steward, who was present in the meeting where they made the agreement to accommodate [Ana], and told her she didn’t have to work on Friday,” Josselyn told mitú. “On Friday they called other people who were not aware of the previous verbal agreement and told them they had to fire her for stealing time.”

One of the representatives for Ana told Aramark management to reconsider firing her since other students have been accommodated before, according to Josselyn. However, Ana and the representative were told that management would take a chance and fired her.

Credit: Ebanks Josselyn / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Ebanks Josselyn / Facebook

The firing of Ana has sparked outrage across the AU campus. Vera, who also founded Exploited Wonks. which tracks worker abuse stories from AU, told mitú that Ana is beloved by the student body and that she is an employee who goes above and beyond. He credits the students’ admiration of Ana for the success of his social media campaign.

In response to Ana’s firing, Vera started the social media campaign #Justice4Ana.


Yet, according to Karen Cutler, the vice president of corporate communications for Aramark, the information being spread on social media is not accurate.

“Although individual personnel matters are private and it would be inappropriate to comment publicly on a specific situation, we can assure unequivocally that the information being shared on social media is inaccurate and incomplete with many key facts omitted,” Cutler told mitú in a email statement. “We believe strongly in career development and fully encourage any associate who wants to continue his/her education or acquire additional skills outside of work. When associates are represented by a union, as is the case at American [University], they must follow terms and conditions around their employment set by a collective bargaining agreement, or CBA, between their employer and union.”

And the students of AU are not letting up on AU and even staged a sit-in in the Aramark office on campus. Josselyn is touched by the amount of support for her mother.

Credit: Ebanks Josselyn / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Ebanks Josselyn / Facebook

“It’s [the response] been great, I was kind of surprised,” Josselyn told mitú. “A student got close to mom and told her she was in that rally because of her, because she knew the kind of worker my mom was mom started crying. The response has been amazing since everybody knows how terrible Aramark is.”

“Workers have also called and said everything will be fine, that we must stick together,” Josselyn recalled.

Credit: Ebanks Josselyn / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Ebanks Josselyn / Facebook

There is still no word on whether or not Ana will be reinstated to her former position but the AU student body is making sure the world knows what they think of Aramark’s treatment of it’s employees.

Watch the FB video of the sit-in below.

#Justice4Ana sit-in

Posted by Noa Leibowitz on Tuesday, September 6, 2016

mitú reached out to American University for comment on the matter and there has been no response as of publication.


READ: The One Instance Where Discrimination Didn’t Win

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Trump Uses Coronavirus Pandemic To Announce He’s Suspending All Immigration To The U.S. And Here’s What You Need To Know

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Trump Uses Coronavirus Pandemic To Announce He’s Suspending All Immigration To The U.S. And Here’s What You Need To Know

Win McNamee / Getty

Donald Trump ran on a campaign pledge to severely limit the rights of migrants and refugees attempting to reach the United States. In office, he wasted no time restricting authorized and unauthorized immigration, with travel bans for citizens of a number of Muslim-majority nations, cutting the numbers of refugees the U.S. accepts, and pushing ahead with plans to build a wall on the southern border.

Now amid a global health pandemic, the president is looking to scapegoat migrant and refugee communities by banning all applications for immigration to the U.S. The move is largely seen as symbolic, however, since the U.S. has already largely stopped processing immigration applications due to reduced capacity.

The White House on Monday announced that President Trump would be signing an executive order to temporarily ban all immigration to the U.S.

President Trump tweeted on Monday that he will pass an executive order to suspend immigration to the United States, claiming that he is seeking to protect jobs in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Democrats were quick to criticize it as a “dumb move” and pointed to testing as a safe way to reopen the economy. Not to mention that the U.S. is already home to the largest number of cases around the globe.

Trump tweeted: “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”

Obviously, since he made the major announcement over Twitter, there is very little clarity over what immigration programs might be impacted. And the White House still hasn’t offered any guidance on what Trump meant by the tweet.

Trump has taken credit for his restrictions on travel to the U.S. from China and hard-hit European countries, arguing it contributed to slowing the spread of the virus in the U.S. But he has yet to extend those restrictions to other nations now experiencing virus outbreaks.

Although the announcement has left many in shock, the U.S. was already severely limiting immigration due to the pandemic.

Already, much of the immigration flow into the country has been paused during the coronavirus pandemic, as the government has temporarily stopped processing all non-worker visas. And, the executive order in its current form will exempt seasonal foreign farm worker visas, one of the largest sources of immigration at the moment.

The administration has already restricted foreign visitors from China, Europe, Canada and Mexico, and has paused processing for immigrants trying to come into the U.S. on non-worker visas because of office closures.

But given the usual chaotic roll out of Trump Administration directives, we still don’t know how long this suspension will last nor what will happen with the applicants already being processed.

Thomas Homan, Trump’s former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told Reuters: “It’s really not about immigration. It’s about the pandemic and keeping our country safer while protecting opportunities for unemployed Americans.”

And it seems the fact that the U.S. already has the largest number of cases on Earth is completely lost on the president.

As of early April, the United States is now home to the largest number of confirmed Covid-19 infections on the planet. There are more than 800,000 cases confirmed by testing and more than 44,000 deaths associated with the virus. In fact, the U.S. now makes up for nearly a third of all Covid-19 infections and a quarter of all deaths.

If Trump wants to make an impact and help flatten the curve in the United States, he should stop promoting the anti-lockdown protests instead of scapegoating immigrant and refugee communities.

Democrats and migrant right’s groups quickly slammed the president’s proposal as xenophobic and counter-productive.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California, also a former 2020 presidential candidate, responded to Trump’s tweet as well, saying the move was “shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda.”

“Trump failed to take this crisis seriously from day 1,” she wrote. “His abandonment of his role as president has cost lives. And now, he’s shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda. Enough, Mr. President. The American people are fed up.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, a Democrat who ran for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination, said in response, “We don’t need to protect America from immigrants. We need to protect her from you.” Now that’s a pretty legit clapback.

After Helping The US Catch Dozens of Criminals, This Former Drug Lord Now Faces Deportation

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After Helping The US Catch Dozens of Criminals, This Former Drug Lord Now Faces Deportation

BENICIA ALVARADO / GETTY

The U.S has a massive criminal enforcement network across the world. From Europe to Australia and across Latin America, the United States works with local governments (among others) to play the part of international police force.

This huge network has helped bring down some of the world’s largest criminal organizations. But, often times, it’s not the U.S. officers making the biggest sacrifices – it’s the criminals who join forces with the FBI or DEA as part of a plea bargain. However, those plea agreements don’t always work out in the end.

The leader of one of Honduras’ largest cartels, helped the U.S. bring down serious criminals.

USDEA / DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

According to report by VICE, Valle has a long history of helping U.S. authorities. For example, just months after her arrest, her brothers were extradited to the United States to face charges related to drug trafficking. Meanwhile in Honduras, authorities seized more than 50 properties owned by Los Valles.

Even her own son and daughter weren’t immune. Her son Gerson eventually turned himself in to U.S. authorities after years on the run thanks to his mother. And that came after her daughter was arrested on money laundering charges. Her brothers and son have all since been convicted on drug-related charges.

And although it hasn’t been confirmed, many contribute the arrest of Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernandez – a former congressman and brother of Honduras’ current president – on drug trafficking charges.

Needless to say, this woman has helped U.S. authorities aggressively pursue the dismantling of a massive drug network (along with its ties in the US) across Latin America.

Her criminal empire was especially adept at building coalitions among cartels.

Credit: @AleRyeesH / Twitter

According to court documents, Los Valles was based in Western Honduras – near the Guatemalan border. The family allegedly moved tens of thousands of kilos of cocaine every month – taking the valuable drugs from Colombia, through Honduras, and into the United States using speedboats, submarines and small airplanes

Her organization often worked together alongside Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel – formerly headed by drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán (now serving life in a United States prison).

As the kinder face of the organization, Valle was focused more on finances and logistics instead of violence. In fact, she was often sent to broker new relationships with the country’s criminal and business elites. Sources close to her said she also helped construct churches and gave money to charity during her time in criminal power in Honduras.

Valle was arrested on arrival in Miami by United States law enforcement back in 2014.

Credit: US Dept of Justice

Valle served four and a half years of an 11-year prison sentence and was then realeased. But shortly after being released from prison, she was picked up by ICE and sent to a detention center in Atlanta. Her asylum claim to remain in the United States was denied—a decision she is currently appealing.

Now, after more than six years helping U.S. officials – she’s facing deportation back to Honduras, and likely death.

Credit: Benicia Alvarado / Getty

Since her arrest and plea deal in 2014, Valle has been acting as a key witness for the U.S. She’s helped the government arrest some of the strongest drug lords in the region, including her own organization. If she’s sent back to Honduras – she faces an almost certain death.

“There is a hunt on right now in my country for people who collaborated and then co-operated [with law enforcement] in drug trafficking cases,” former Army Capt. Santos Rodriguez Orellana told VICE by phone from Honduras.

It’s death sentence for her,” according to Mike Vigil, a former chief of international operations at the DEA, who also spoke with VICE News.

He added: “Her chances of survival in Honduras are slim to none. Honduras is, without question, a narco state. The highest levels within the political spectrum along with the military and police are in the pockets of drug traffickers. Given the fact that she cooperated in key drug trafficking trials, she is not likely to survive in Honduras. She is going into a fiery cauldron and is definitely going to get burned.”

Her case shows why so few people see the U.S. legal system as a partner – they become disposable just like that.

Credit: US Dept. Of Justice / DEA Task Force LA

As if it wasn’t dangerous enough for Valle to return to Honduras with a network of criminals hunting for their revenge, there’s a hunt for her at the highest levels of government.

Honduras Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that Valle faces charges of money laundering in Honduras, and there is a warrant for her arrest. Her arrival in Honduras wont go unnoticed and being imprisoned will offer her little protection from violence.