AFSCME Local 2267, representing nearly 300 Bristol Board of Education employees, got plenty of community support Nov. 6 as members held a rally and speak-out in opposition to the attempted privatization of school cafeteria services.
Local 2267 membership includes 50 cafeteria workers like Sharon Peterson whose jobs and services are in jeopardy because the Board of Education wants to hire a private company out of Long Island, Whitson’s, to run Bristol’s school cafeterias.
“We know the kids and we know their families. We know their dietary restrictions. And we know how to make them smile,” Peterson said during the rally and at the Board of Education’s regular meeting that followed. “I also know this: Nobody is getting rich serving high quality meals to Bristol’s school children. I make a little over $14 an hour – after 20 years of service.”
Council 4 filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Board of Education for bad faith bargaining after the Board of Education voted 5-4 against a tentative agreement that included deep economic concessions from the workers.
The rally and Board of Education speak-out drew support from many unions, including the Connecticut AFL-CIO, the Bristol Central Labor Council, CILU/UE, Judicial Professionals/AFT, A&R Local 4200, Teamsters, Letter Carriers and Machinists.
“Can any of you function on an empty stomach? I know I can’t” Petosa told the Board of Education (see video below). “We’re going to keep these good quality services in this city.”