Pequot Lakes - Custodians, paraeducators, secretaries, food service , and nurses represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 284 voted unanimously Wednesday to authorize a strike to ensure a fair contract. The union filed a 10-day notice Thursday and workers could strike on Oct. 11th
"It was never our hope for these staff members to have to vote to strike, but the district and the school board left us no other choice," Said Carrie Chiodi, a secretary at Eagle View Elementary School.
SEIU Local 284 membership has grown in the district after the pandemic and record inflation has put overwhelming stress on school employees. Many employees are dealing with a staff shortage and having to fill empty positions with extra shifts. Hourly wages have failed to keep up with inflation over the last few years and the bargaining team is looking to remedy the situation.
"We want to be valued with a living wage", said Tom Nelson, a custodian at Pequot Lakes High School.
The group brings together 85 workers and the members have agreed to leave the strike open-ended until a fair contract is reached. These workers are so essential to school operations that it will be unlikely for the school to continue in-person during this time.
More details on the strike will be released closer to the strike date.