Minneapolis school food service workers vote to authorize a strike

3 March 2022

Food service workers at Minneapolis Public Schools voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to authorize a strike if necessary.

The Service Employees International Union Local 284 reported that 98.5% of members who voted supported a walkout if a contract agreement can’t be reached with the district.

The vote gives union leaders permission to formally notify the district if they determine a strike is needed. That would start a 10-day “cooling off” period before a strike could begin.

The vote comes less than a week after educators with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) and St. Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE) announced their intent to strike on March 8th if they don’t come to contract agreements with their respective districts.

The food service workers’ contract expired in June 2020 and the union is pushing for higher wages for its members. The part-time, hourly employees often work 30-35 hours during the school year and typically make less than $28,000 a year, according to the union.

At a rally after the vote on Wednesday, Alexandria Van Buren said food service workers like her have been disrespected, overworked and underpaid. “But we still get up and go in there for the love the children,” she said.

In a statement, the school district said its food service workers are “essential partners” who serve daily meals to the district’s 29,000 students and continued working during distance learning to prepare boxed meals for families.

“Throughout the pandemic, they selflessly worked on the frontline,” the statement read. “We praised them as heroes then, and we continue to praise them as heroes now.”

The district is “committed to reaching an agreement through our upcoming mediation sessions to ensure meal access for students is not interrupted and that our food service workers are fairly and adequately compensated,” the statement read.

This post was originally published on this site

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