School food service workers begin open-ended strike in Hastings, MN
Hastings Minnesota – On an unseasonably warm February day, food service workers at Hastings Public Schools, members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 284, walked off the job beginning an open ended strike, February 7.
This came after eight months of bargaining with their employer.
The food service workers are demanding affordable health insurance, fair hours and scheduling, and equitable raises for all workers. Despite working through the worst of the pandemic to provide healthy food for Hastings Public School students, the district has refused to budge at the bargaining table. The district administrators have taken home significant raises recently, but the union says that they have refused to bargain in good faith with the workers who make the school district run.
The first day on the picket line was spirited. Dozens of neighbors, fellow union members, parents and community members stopped by the line to picket with the workers, drop off hot food or water, and offer words of encouragement.
As the school day came to a close, Holly Bohlken, a 22-year food service worker at Hastings High School spoke to reporters and the crowd gathered at the picket line. Bohlken said “We’ve been supporting our children and feeding them hot meals. Come to find out we’re only offered 34 cents an hour raise, after working long hours to feed the children. And that isn’t okay.”
The picket lines will continue from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays in front of various district sites. Follow Fight Back! for more coverage.