Cafeteria workers in the Princeton Public Schools are striking today to protest employer Nutri-Serve’s unilateral change of terms of employment that workers say included a slashing wages and benefits.
The strike involves 20 workers at six public schools.Workers say the strike is a last resort after attempts to negotiate new employment terms failed.
The strike began at 6:30 a.m. and will continue all day. Workers will join together for a rally at 10 a.m. in front of Princeton High School.
Nutri-Serve Management won the contract to manage the district’s food service program in June. One of the reasons the company was chosen was because it serves healthier food, something several parents lobbied for.
The cafeteria workers say they were told that they would continue working for the district, but they weren’t informed that their working terms and conditions would be changed.
Without bargaining with the union or informing workers of the changes, Nutri-Serve slashed the workers benefits. The company eliminated paid holidays, and paid jury duty, and cut slated wage increases in half from 40 cents to 20 cents an hour, workers say. The company also reduced the number of uniform shirts provided to workers.
Nutri-Serve has said the company had to cut benefits to keep the food services program within budget because of rising costs.
The union for the cafeteria workers says it is unacceptable for a new contractor to come into the workplace and slash the terms and conditions of the cafeteria workers without informing the workers or negotiating in good faith with the union. 32BJ SEIU has filed unfair labor practice charges against Nutri-Serve. The union represents 10,000 workers in New Jersey.