MPS food service workers hold first mediation session Friday

Members of the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) food service worker union held their first mediation session with the district Friday.

The session comes one week after 98.5% of union members voted to authorize a strike, as previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

RELATED: Food service workers for Minneapolis schools to hold strike authorization vote

Service Employees International Union Local 284, which represents the workers, states the workers have been working under an expired contract for nearly two years.

Workers say they want higher pay and improved working conditions. They also say they are not eligible for the same employment benefits in the summer when they don’t work because so many employees are part-time.

If the two sides can’t reach a deal, the union would have to file a 10-day notice for any potential strike.

Minneapolis Public Schools issued the following statement regarding the strike authorization vote last week:

Minneapolis Public Schools’ food service workers are essential partners who serve daily meals to our 29,000+ students. While MPS was in distance learning, our food service workers showed up to work every day to prepare and hand out boxed meals to our students and families who needed them. Throughout the pandemic, they selflessly worked on the frontline. We praised them as heroes then, and we continue to praise them as heroes now.

MPS is committed to reaching an agreement through our upcoming mediation sessions to ensure meal access for students is not interrupted and that our food service workers are fairly and adequately compensated.