UPDATED: School salad bars removed in union dispute

05/30/2013 04:21:00 PM
Mike Hornick

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.”

 

“It’s such a disservice to the students,” Margaret D’Arrigo-Martin, vice president of community development at Taylor Farms, said of the removal. “The industry has worked very hard to fund these salad bars for the schools. I think the children deserve access to fresh fruits and vegetables, especially in this county where they’re grown.”
D’Arrigo-Martin has led Grower-Shipper Association Foundation efforts to offer trainings to area schools on starting and strengthening salad bar programs. 
“There’s labor involved in maintaining one, but there’s a way to do it cost effectively if there’s buy-in from the top down,” she said. “Everybody’s got to work together on it. I think we can help them be successful in relaunching their program.”
D’Arrigo-Martin planned to meet with the district’s superintendent. “It’s not our role to go up against the labor union, but we want to provide support,” she said.

 

“It’s such a disservice to the students,” Margaret D’Arrigo-Martin, vice president of community development at Taylor Farms, said of the removal. “The industry has worked very hard to fund these salad bars for the schools. I think the children deserve access to fresh fruits and vegetables, especially in this county where they’re grown.”

D’Arrigo-Martin has led Grower-Shipper Association Foundation efforts to offer trainings to area schools on starting and strengthening salad bar programs. 

“There’s labor involved in maintaining one, but there’s a way to do it cost effectively if there’s buy-in from the top down,” she said. “Everybody’s got to work together on it. I think we can help them be successful in relaunching their program.”

D’Arrigo-Martin planned to meet with the district’s superintendent. “It’s not our role to go up against the labor union, but we want to provide support,” she said.

Jennifer Gerard, the district’s director of nutrition services, is a longtime supporter of Let’s Move who’s conducted trainings for schools statewide. She could not immediately be reached for comment. In May the district had a representative at United Fresh 2013 in San Diego as the trade group celebrated 436 salad bar donations to California schools. The union raised objections in Monterey the week before.

“Leave it to a district in the middle of an area that grows fruits and vegetables for this to happen,” Marshall said. “Kids and parents are saying, ‘We want our salad bars back.’ We’re cautiously optimistic that next (school) year everything will be back up and running.”



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Del    
Monte  |  May, 31, 2013 at 06:23 AM

Sounds like laziness to me..

HD    
Monterey, CA  |  May, 31, 2013 at 09:05 AM

I'm so proud - the Unions are protecting their employees from abuse - of course that had a bit more validity when it was dying in coal mines and not the rigors of having to lift bowls of lettuce... you just have to be kidding.

    
May, 31, 2013 at 09:14 AM

I wonder what the people harvesting the lettuce think about this? I'm sure they'd be more than happy to take a job in the cafeteria preparing salad for the students!

john mccormick    
Monte Vista CO  |  May, 31, 2013 at 09:40 AM

Easy fix, just rewrite your job descriptions, fire the people that don't what to do their job and tell the Union to stick it!! Problem solved.

Jim    
Rochester New York  |  May, 31, 2013 at 09:44 AM

You got to be kidding me! What an absolutely self centered, selfish and idiotic move! Just another example how unions will do anything to serve their own interests with total disregard for their responsibilities to their jobs and employers. In this case they work for the people and the community. And who are they protecting??

JA    
NYS  |  May, 31, 2013 at 09:49 AM

I will lay odds that Judy Durand is anti- lettuce and greens! She sounds more like a Pizza Pocket person to me! Lets Go Obesity!

Mark    
May, 31, 2013 at 09:57 AM

I've heard it all now. The union folks in that area should be ashamed of themselves!! The poor overworked souls.

PJM    
Richmond Va  |  May, 31, 2013 at 10:01 AM

What would Michele Obama think about this! Healthy Healthy Healthy .. yet the Union (which support her husband) don't want to do the extra work. The salad bars were free ! When will we start just doing the right thing!

Robert    
May, 31, 2013 at 10:10 AM

This is produce terrorism! A way is found to curb obesity and its shot down by some liberal, lazy union. Are you kidding me? What is happened to our country? I feel for those Californians that have to put up with these ignorant people.

KCL    
Los Angeles  |  May, 31, 2013 at 10:36 AM

The Unions will put themselves ahead of the children EVERY time.

Charlie    
California  |  May, 31, 2013 at 10:51 AM

This is a new low for labor unions.

Gary    
Dayton  |  May, 31, 2013 at 10:57 AM

"Mary, what would you rather do - rotate the chopped lettuce or clean the mens room? That is in your job description." "Congress will meet on this next session." B.O.

Jeff    
GA  |  May, 31, 2013 at 02:03 PM

Next time you hear a Democrat use the worn out line; "We must pass this bill for the sake of our our children" You know its nothing but deception from the truth hidden behind the smoke and mirrors" Union Democrats have shown their true colors. Just as they did during Hurricane Sandy when they turned away Southern Non-Union workers. Despicable!!!!

Maria de la Fuente, PhD    
Salinas, CA  |  May, 31, 2013 at 02:20 PM

It seems that with great effort, coordination and inventive intention, we move two steps forward to better our community, nad then get pushed 5 or 6 steps backwards by "politics".

Ted    
North Dakota  |  May, 31, 2013 at 02:36 PM

And you wonder why unions have an image problem?

MNT    
Cincinnati, OH  |  June, 01, 2013 at 11:49 AM

I'd bet these workers are from the same union as the Twinkie killers that wouldn't accept concessions before letting Hostess die & losing all of those jobs... How hard is it to work in this country? What percentage of us, just do the job, no matter what the description says & better our communities; this is not only an outrage, but of greater significance since most of the "salad"originates from there or is controlled by a company with ties (in the general vicinity)...

Berto    
Fresno  |  June, 03, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Unions represent dues paying members. They will represent the Children when they start paying dues!

John    
Florida  |  June, 03, 2013 at 02:35 PM

More proof that these sorts of unions have no place in a modern day American workforce. They are no longer here to protect worker's health and rights... they now only serve to entitle their members to laziness, inefficiency, and a do-the-minimum- needed-to-get-by attitude.

Grant    
Denver,CO  |  June, 03, 2013 at 08:40 PM

Oh boy

Renee Patterson    
Chesaning, MI  |  June, 04, 2013 at 07:46 AM

I have yet to comment back on any articles I have read but I am truly disturbed to see this is a Union Issue. Shame on the staff. It is clear this staff is not student centered. I have had salad bars in my elementary schools for over 15 years. This staff is lazy should be reprimanded and gives school food service a miss conception.I would go as far as to let the staff all go hire people that care about students health and well being. U

PM    
California  |  June, 05, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Not EVERY time...but this decision is about people being comfortable enough in their positions that they can get away with doing as little work as humanly possible.

PM    
California  |  June, 05, 2013 at 11:50 AM

There are as many Republicans in the Unions as there are Democrats. Why do Republicans always blame all the bad decisions on Democrats? It's not about political affiliations, it's about laziness.

anonymous    
June, 06, 2013 at 09:13 AM

Wow, when did providing our children a healthy lunch become about what's best for the unions and not what's best for our kids...

ZaMarCalMOMMY    
Salinas, California  |  June, 06, 2013 at 09:39 AM

absolutely PATHETIC~ both the employees and union reps should be ASHAMED! You have jobs/positions because of the CHILDREN and you are taking something away from them? something AMAZING I might add! AGAIN unions cause PROBLEMS for our kids... not solutions.

PMOW1979    
Hollister  |  June, 06, 2013 at 12:56 PM

I belong to a Union, but would leave it in a second if it pulled a stunt like this. How much extra work is there really? One more thing to clean? Stock? This is the prime example of one employee complaining about it, and a Union taking it too far. My kids have a salad bar at their school and LOVE it, and that is in an Elementary school. Get rid of the complainers, and get people who actually care about the children.

Maurie Thomas    
Maywood, CA  |  June, 09, 2013 at 09:54 AM

Unbelievable that the Administration is so afraid of the union that they actually removed the Salad Bars. I understand each Salad Bar cost $2785.00. What are we becoming when lazy uncaring slobs get priority over doing what is best?

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