Food service workers in Hastings schools set Feb. 7 strike date

Hastings food service workers plan to strike Feb. 7. (SEIU Local 284 photo)

Food service workers today put the Hastings public school district on notice of their intent to strike Feb. 7 unless the two sides reach agreement on a new union contract before then.

“We’re united, and we’re ready to strike if the district won’t pay us what we’re worth and stop nickel-and-diming us about our working hours and snow days,” said Sara Rapp, a cook at Hastings High School and member of the union’s bargaining team.

Contract negotiations between Independent School District 200 and the 35-person bargaining unit, represented by Service Employees (SEIU) Local 284, began last June and later entered mediation. The previous, two-year contract expired June 30.

No bargaining dates are currently on the calendar between now and Feb. 7, according to Local 284.

The two sides remain far apart when it comes to wages, Local 284 contract organizer Hal Goetz said, with workers holding out for an increase roughly double what the district is offering.

Most workers in the bargaining unit earn between $15 and just over $18 per hour. A few are paid less, and head cooks’ pay scale runs about $7 per hour higher, Goetz said.

Union members also are fighting to maintain affordable dental and family insurance premiums, and for language ensuring a minimum number of work hours. A union statement said workers “have been clear that any settlement needs to include a fair wage increase to combat the impact of historic inflation and maintain stability through regular hours and health insurance benefits.”

Workers voted in December to authorize a strike, and they are asking supporters to sign onto a letter to the superintendent and school board members at seiu.mn/hastings.

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  1. […] Rapp said students at the high school were particularly supportive after workers, who voted to authorize a strike in December, publicly announced their strike date last month. […]

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