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Union strike enters day 2 in Hastings

Workers are asking for a contract to "recruit and retain quality staff," including a demand for higher pay.

HASTINGS, Minn. — Wednesday morning food service workers from the Hastings School District are returning to the picket lines, asking school leaders for a fair contract. 

Members of SEIU Local 284, the union representing the 35 workers, first started their strike on Tuesday morning. Later that day the group rallied with supporters and Senator Judy Seeberger, who represents Hastings in the Minnesota Senate. 

According to the school district, the strike didn't cause significant disruption on Tuesday. In a statement, Hastings Public Schools said "the District’s administration and staff are working hard to ensure that school will continue to remain in session for the duration of the strike."

Talks between the two groups are ongoing. The food service workers first filed a 10-day notice of intent to strike in late January, according to the union. Workers said that food service workers are paid a starting wage of less than $15 an hour. The union said in a statement that they want is a "fair wage increase to combat the impact of historic inflation and maintain stability through regular hours and health insurance benefits."

Hastings Public Schools said in a statement on Tuesday that "the District’s final offer is consistent with the package offered to and accepted by other employee groups during recent negotiations. Today, the District respectfully declined a Union request to continue mediation with the Bureau of Mediation Services.

Continuing on, the statement from the district also said:

"Mediation sessions to date have consisted overwhelmingly of the District attempting to modify its proposals without receiving any meaningful counter-proposals from the Union side. The Union did not make any new financial proposals during the parties’ 11-hour mediation session last week Thursday. Today's Union request did not indicate there was any change of Union position, nor did it provide any indication that the Union is willing to make any new proposals."

Wednesday, union members will again picket from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. and then again from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on the sidewalk in front of Hastings High School. 

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