MPS food service workers will hold their first mediation session on Friday

Members of the Minneapolis Public Schools Food Service Workers (MPS) union are scheduled to hold their first mediation session with the district on Friday.

The session comes a week after 98.5% of union members voted to authorize a strike, as 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS previously reported.

RELATED: Minneapolis Schools Food Service Workers to Hold Strike Authorization Vote

Service Employees International Union Local 284, which represents the workers, says the workers are working under a contract that has expired for nearly two years.

Workers say they want higher wages and better working conditions. They also say they don’t get the same summer employment benefits when they’re not working because there are so many part-timers.

If the two parties cannot reach an agreement, the union will have to file 10 days’ notice for any potential strike.

Minneapolis Public Schools released the following statement regarding the strike authorization vote last week:

“Minneapolis Public Schools food service workers are essential partners who serve daily meals to our more than 29,000 students. While MPS was in remote training, our catering workers showed up to work every day to prepare and distribute boxed meals to our students and families in need. Throughout the pandemic, they have worked selflessly on the front lines. We hailed them as heroes then, and we continue to hail them as heroes today.

MPS is committed to reaching an agreement in our upcoming mediation sessions to ensure that access to student meals is not interrupted and that our food service workers are fairly and adequately compensated.