St. Cloud Food Services Employees Trying Mediation
The food service workers from the St. Cloud school district have entered into mediation with the district after complaints of being “undervalued and underpaid”. The employees were supported by members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), who attended a recent meeting and said that there are concerns over low wages and the food service workers continued struggle to keep up with increasing health care costs.
According to a representative from the SEIU, "They are on the cusp of having to leave a job because they literally cannot afford to stay. That is really sad and St. Cloud can do better”.
Data shows St. Cloud food service workers make about $2 to $5 less an hour than other districts throughout in the region that are of a comparable size. The SEIU rep called it a “huge problem,” and said she believes the workers deserve better.
To date, there are still three collective bargaining units in the district that have not finalized their contracts for 2017 to 2019, which includes the principal’s association and the clerical unit, in addition to the food services workers. All of the units are in the midst of participating in mediation. Mediation sessions are being overseen by the Minnesota Bureau of mediation Services.
Bargaining teams representing the district and the food service workers have thus far met for seven sessions total, the two most recent of which were in mediation. As of May 4th’s mediation session, the groups had failed to finalize a contract or come to any general consensus. The details of the mediation are confidential, which is the norm. There are no further mediation sessions scheduled yet, but more are expected.