No ‘snow day’ after ‘decisive victory’ for lunch workers

Source: Ethan Shorey, The Valley Breeze, September 27, 2016

The city’s school lunch workers said they achieved “a decisive victory for all women who feed the kids and the fight for equal pay” after agreeing to a new contract with food service provider Aramark last week. The pay gap for local lunch workers, all women, will “dramatically shrink” as they receive $1.20 in raises over three years,” said the workers in a release. … The agreement, a new three-year deal covering the 81 school lunch employees, was reached last Thursday afternoon in an effort to prevent a one-day strike the school lunch workers had planned for Friday. School officials were planning to treat Friday like a snow day if the strike went forward with their strike. The Breeze reported earlier last Thursday that the lunch workers had struck a tentative deal with Aramark on Monday of last week. … The union originally prepared the comparison of 76 cents for women to $1 for men by using available data of the Pawtucket school support staff positions that are primarily filled by men (custodians) and the pay rate data members have for local school lunch members. The figures compare the hourly pay rates. The local lunch workers are represented by Unite Here, Local 26, a Boston-based union representing 9,000 hotel, food service, airport, and casino workers across Rhode Island and Massachusetts. …

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Pawtucket school cafeteria workers threaten to go on strike
Source: Crystal Bui, NBC 10 News, September 21, 2016

School could be canceled for Pawtucket students on Friday due to an ongoing battle between lunch workers and their food service company. Workers are saying there isn’t fair pay, and if they don’t get better contract negotiations, they plan on striking. NBC10 News spoke to Lori Foti, a cafeteria worker who has been serving students breakfast and lunch for more than 20 years. She said if things don’t change, she’s not sure she’ll be able to stay. … The mostly female cafeteria workers said they’re not receiving pay that’s comparable to what male food service workers receive. They’re asking their employer, Aramark, to increase pay and benefits. … Contract negotiations begin Thursday, with a very tight deadline for progress. The cafeteria workers plan to go on a one-day strike if needed. Pawtucket Schools Superintendent Patti DiCenso would not confirm or deny if the city’s six schools would close, but other unions may honor the picket line. The decision may come late Thursday, causing many families to find child care with little notice. …