(FOX 9) - As Minneapolis and St. Paul teachers are on the verge of going on strike, Minneapolis food service workers voted tonight to join them in their fight for increased wages and more student services.
At a rally Wednesday, union members chanted, "we love our kids," according to FOX 9’s Karen Scullin who was in attendance.
Food service workers at Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) who are members of SEIU Local 284 authorized a strike Wednesday with 98.5 percent of members voting in approval. A 10-day notice would need to be filed for any potential strike.
According to Scullin, food service workers all seem to agree the job is great – but the wages are dismal.
"I find it difficult to believe that we all been working very hard and for the last three years I have not gotten a raise," said food service worker Alexandria Van Buren at the rally. Union members are fighting for higher wages, year round pay, free use of vacation days and, above all, respect.
"We need to fight for our respect. We are professional people. When I tell people what my job is they say oh, ‘you’re a lunch lady,’" said food service worker Ken Nelson.
"We’ve had disrespect in the workplace, feel unappreciated, overworked, stressed out, underpaid, but we still get up and go in there for the love of our children," said Van Buren.
Also at the rally was the president of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, who offered support, saying, "We have your back."