MINNEAPOLIS — Food service workers employed by Minneapolis Public Schools voted to authorize a strike Wednesday, following in the footsteps of educators from both Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Like MPS and St. Paul Public Schools educators, the food service workers will need to provide a 10-day notice before any potential strike.
A statement from the SEIU Local 284 labor union — a separate bargaining unit from the district's educators — were in favor of a strike, amounting to 98.5% of the vote.
The union's statement said the workers have been working under an expired contract for more than two years.
Cynthia Gross, a food service worker for MPS for 30 years, said she voted yes because she knows her job is "essential."
"It’s time for the district to step up. We were there during COVID. We love these kids. I’ve been here for 30 years because we love these kids. It wasn’t the money that kept us here, but we’ve taken so much for so long. It’s not OK anymore. Together, we are going to get this done,” she said.
According to the union's statement, the group pushed for a $1-an-hour raise for each year in the next contract, but says the district hasn't presented any specific proposals. The statement goes on to say that many workers have had to pick up second jobs in order to make ends meet.
“We have been disrespected, overworked, and we’ve been underpaid, but we still show up and do this work because we love these children," said Alexandria Van Buren, a food service worker with MPS for the last four years.
The authorization comes as educators approach their 10-day notice period to strike, with potential picketing starting as soon as March 8.
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