Hastings Schools food workers strike declared over after reaching agreement
HASTINGS, Minn. (FOX 9) - After a more than six-week long standoff that included workers forming picket lines outside school buildings, Hastings School District food service workers have come to an agreement to end its strike.
Hastings Schools food service workers backed by SEIU Local 284 began a strike on Feb. 7, with workers forming picket lines during popular morning and night pickup times outside Hastings Middle School.
Pointing to wage increases for teachers and other administration officials since the beginning of the pandemic, food service workers banded together in an effort to secure a bigger piece of the pie themselves.
According to an announcement from the school district, a tentative agreement was formally reached Thursday evening with workers that will go before the school board on March 29.
The return to work agreement, along with a return to work plan, will culminate in workers returning to schools on March 30.
"While the process has been long, and both sides engaged in what they felt they needed to do in the best interest of their respective organizations, the District has shifted its focus to the future," the Hastings School District said in a statement.
Previously, workers had rejected what they collectively deemed to be "disrespectful" offers on behalf of the district.
But according to an announcement from SEIU 284, the agreement includes wage improvements for all eligible members, one-time payments of $800 a year, and the district maintaining its contribution to health insurance plans.
"While this agreement does not reflect what we feel we are worth, our struggle for recognition and respect took a big step forward because of our solidarity," said Hastings High School Food Service Worker Sara Rapp in a statement. "Now we have a better contract than we otherwise would have gotten without our fight."