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Michigan Moves A Step Closer To Privatizing Prison Food Service

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Unions that represent prison food service workers are blasting state officials for moving to privatize those services.

The state Administrative Board approved a contract with Philadelphia-based ARAMARK Corporation Monday.

We have more from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher.

Nick Ciaramitaro is with Michigan AFSCME Council 25. He says the bidding process gave ARAMARK an unfair advantage. And he questions the company’s track record with prison safety.

“There’s going to be all sorts of chaos created in the system to make a political statement rather than to do a careful and simple evaluation,” he says.

But state corrections officials say they’ve done their due diligence in reviewing all options. They say the contract with ARAMARK will save the state more than 10 million dollars a year. State lawmakers already took much of that money out of the corrections budget to account for privatization.

The contract still needs to be approved by the state Civil Service Commission. But Governor Rick Snyder’s administration says it can begin implementation before that happens.

Jake Neher is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He covers the State Legislature and other political events in Lansing.
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