Contractual Agreement Reached with School Food Service Workers | Reading

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READING – The school committee at its September 30 meeting unanimously approved a new three-year contract with district food service workers. Cafeteria workers will get a 4.5 percent pay rise over the three years, including 1.5 percent a year starting this year, plus eight contract adjustments.

The elimination of the old first step of the salary scale and the addition of a new upper step for the workers and cafeteria manager of elementary and middle schools in each school are part of the adjustments to the contract. The new top step and the new bottom step are 2% increases over the contract that ended in June. Additionally, a joint union and management committee will meet in February 2022 to consider a possible wage increase in years two and three to comply with the state’s minimum wage law.

In addition, the new public holiday of June 19 was added to the contract and the wording changed so that employees can choose to pay a service charge to the union instead of demanding this payment.

Food supply issues, shortage of food service workers

Additionally, Reading School Finance Director Susan Bottan briefed the committee on food delivery issues due to job shortages in the trucking industry and other parts of the supply chain. food.

She also said that there were 11 vacant positions in the school cafeteria staff. To help with the operation of the school lunch, the school committee suggested that some positions could be filled by local volunteers. This discussion culminated in the following email sent to parents on Friday from Bottan and Director of School Nutrition Danielle Collins:

“Extreme labor shortages and very tight supply chains are having a significant impact on operations in the Commonwealth, especially for food service programs. Vendors are struggling to stock up on food items and hire the staff needed to deliver food and dry supplies to schools. School districts do not have the staff they need to prepare and serve lunches for students. Reading is feeling the impact of these unprecedented times within our own school lunch program. ”

“Currently our breakfast program has 11 open positions, which represents 30% of our cafeteria workforce. Every day we get calls from various suppliers apologizing that our deliveries will not be made at all or that items will be replaced with different products. Labor shortages and unpredictable deliveries made the operation of our school meals program extremely difficult.

“Given the gravity of this situation, we believe it is important to reach out to the community to explore ways to work together to feed our students safely and successfully during this difficult time. Below are some steps our staff have taken to actively improve the situation as well as some ways families can help:

Some ways families can help:

● Consider bringing lunch from home.

● Plan an extra snack so that if your student does not receive their first choice, they have a little something from home that they will appreciate.

● Understand that there may be one lunch option instead of multiple choices for all students.

● Volunteer to help serve students. Each dining room volunteer will participate in a short online training program called ServSafe and complete other requirements for volunteering, such as completing a CORI check. If you would like to receive information about volunteering, please contact Susan Bottan, Director of Finance and Operations at susan.bottan@reading.k12.ma.us.

“The measures taken by the school service:

● Our Director of School Nutrition actively researches products independently and in her role as a member of the Massachusetts School Buying Group Steering Committee, https: //

www.massbuyinggroup.com, a collaboration to find suppliers and create resources for 90 districts across the Commonwealth.

● Our school cafeteria directors, nurses and school principals are creatively exploring ways to best support our efficiency with fewer cafeteria workers. One way to do this is to streamline the payment process so that students can receive their lunches faster.

● The directors of school facilities and nutrition in our city are working on renovating a dry storage space and installing a cold room and freezer in two of our schools, which will increase our capacity. store food products rather than relying on daily deliveries.

● Our human resources and school nutrition directors have streamlined our application process and are actively conducting outreach activities to recruit staff to serve our students ”

“Know that if your child orders lunch, we will prepare a meal for each student who requests it and if your student has a dietary or allergy-related need, we will ensure that your child receives a safe meal for them. . Our Director of School Nutrition and the cafeteria staff who serve our students’ lunches are committed to providing safe and healthy breakfasts, and they do an amazing job!

Better,

Danielle Collins,

Food Nutrition Director

Susan Bottan, Director of

Finance and operations “


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