Courtesy Dole Food Co.Marty Ordman, front left, vice president of marketing and communications at Dole Food Co., attended a September event at Foothill Elementary School marking Dole's donation of five salad bars to schools in the Monterey, Calif., district. Foothill's salad bar was one of six removed from schools in Monterey in May after a classified employees union representing lunchroom workers complained that maintenance requirements exceeded contract obligations.(UPDATED COVERAGE May 31) Salad bars have been removed from six Monterey, Calif., schools after lunchroom workers with the Classified School Employee Association union complained that maintaining them required efforts beyond their contract obligations.
The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District schools received the donated equipment as part of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative backed by the United Fresh Produce Association Foundation. The program has provided 19 salad bars for the district. Many were recently delivered and as yet unimplemented.
“This is the first time we’ve heard of this issue anywhere out of all the 2,500 salad bars that have gone across the country,” said Andrew Marshall, policy and grassroots manager for the United Fresh Produce Association. “The school district was taken aback as well. They were not expecting anyone to say anything against this.”
District officials plan talks with the union aimed at returning salad bars to the six affected elementary schools — Foothill, Monte Vista, Crumpton, King, Del Rey Woods and Olson — by the fall.
Dole Food Co. donated salad bars to Foothill and four other district schools last September.
“Obviously we’re alarmed,” said Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and health at United Fresh. “But luckily it’s the end of the school year and they’ve got time to talk this through and figure it out before school starts again in August.”
“Our bargaining unit is not opposed to having salad bars in school districts," said Judy Durand, executive director of human resources at the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District. "This is an issue about implementation and impact on working conditions for employees. We’re having ongoing discussions and I have every reason to believe that this will be fully resolved and the salad bars will be back into the schools prior to the beginning of the next school year.”