Woodland Hills restaurant workers approve strike permission

Food service workers in the Woodland Hills School District have voted to strike if a new contract is not reached soon.

The workers have been without a contract since July 1.

The Woodland Hills Cafeteria Education Support Staff (WHCESP) on Monday approved strike authorization if negotiations fail at an upcoming meeting on Aug. 23. District schools are scheduled to open Aug. 24.

“At this time, WHCESP will continue negotiations with the employer, Nutrition, Inc., to reach a fair and equitable contract settlement,” union president Kelly Piecyznski said.

The catering workers union has 43 members. The vote to authorize a strike was unanimous.

District officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

In a statement, Piecyznski called the contract requirements “reasonable and affordable,” pointing to a living wage as a sticking point.

Union representatives did not return phone calls Tuesday morning.

Piecyznski said in the statement that food service workers deserve respect for helping to keep the district running during the covid-related shutdowns.

“The bargaining unit has been working through the pandemic to feed district families without wasting time,” Piecyznski said.

“All they want is a living wage and respect for the positions they hold in the company.”

Piecyznski said the vote to authorize the strike indicates that the union is prepared to take available steps to reach “a fair and just contract settlement.”

“We are united and determined to resolve the remaining issues that are still in dispute.”

The district serves students from Braddock, Braddock Hills, Chalfant, Churchill, East Pittsburgh, Edgewood, Forest Hills, North Braddock, Rankin, Swissvale, Turtle Creek and Wilkins Township.

Tawnya Panizzi is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Tawnya by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .