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Hastings school district leaders hide as striking food service workers stand firm

By staff

Hastings school food service workers on the picket line.

Hastings MN – Energy was high on the fourth day, February 10, of the Hastings Public Schools food service worker strike. SEIU Local 284 members remain strong as management refuses to bargain. Striking workers, fellow unionists and community allies converged at Kennedy Elementary School for an end of the day unity picket and rally. Including the 35 striking workers, the picket line swelled with the support of dozens of family members, building staff and educators, as well as rank-and-file unionists from the area including letter carriers, University of Minnesota workers, Teamsters, other SEIU locals and community members.

When asked for comment by local news stations, the school district only said the union could take the deal or leave it. The superintendent of Hastings Public Schools is Bob McDowell. Signs on the picket line said that McDowell gave himself a $35,000 raise but is only offering a 35-cent raise to the workers.

Hasting’s school food service workers worked during the height of the COVID pandemic, and they want to continue to provide students with hot and nutritious meals. The school district is refusing to negotiate, leaving the workers no choice but to strike. Instead of receiving the hot foods that the food service workers normally provide, they kids being fed by unskilled administrators and others to try to bust the strike. The result has been cold and unappealing food, including some reports of kids being given still partially frozen and possibly unsafe food by the strike breakers.

Cars driving by the picket line were cheering or honking in support and one parent could be heard saying “I support y’all, I hope this gets figured out!”

The strike will continue until a resolution is reached, with picket lines starting up again on Monday February 13, at 9 a.m. at Hastings Middle School. No further bargaining is currently scheduled.

#HastingsMN #strike