What's in it for Big Labor? SEIU Executive Vice President Mitch Ackerman explains: "A more robust expansion of school lunch, breakfast, summer feeding, child care and WIC (the federal Women, Infants and Children nutrition program) is critical to reducing hunger, ending childhood obesity and providing fair wages and healthcare for front line food service workers(emphasis added)."
There are 400,000 workers who prepare and serve lunch to American schoolchildren. SEIU represents tens of thousands of those workers and is trying to unionize many more. "More robust expansion" of the federal school-lunch law means a mandate for higher wages, increased benefits and government-guaranteed health insurance coverage (the more luxurious the better now that SEIU has negotiated its Cadillac Tax exemption from the Democrats' health care takeover bill).
The SEIU's front group, "Campaign for Quality Services," is clamoring for "the right to sick days and training" for school food-services workers. Never ones to let a crisis go unexploited, SEIU sent its members to lobby in front of Chicago public schools last year and scare parents into supporting their labor agenda. They accused the school system of "putting our kids at risk" during flu season by resisting the SEIU's sick day coverage demands. "Without sick days, I can't take a day off, so I have to bring germs to school," an SEIU janitor lamented.
Along the same lines, they are casting food-services workers as indispensable saviors. The union has rallied behind P.R. efforts casting them as superheroes "serving justice, and serving lunch." Opposing the union means opposing children's health. SEIU propaganda features New Jersey school cafeteria workers like Leslie Williams of Orange, N.J., lamenting: "I love my work, but it's getting harder to prepare nutritious meals on the low budget we're working with. … It breaks my heart to see a child who's hungry. As I see it, part of my job is to make sure the kids are well-fed."
Actually, that's the primary job of parents. Mom? Dad? Remember them? But the more responsibility we demand of parents, the less power and influence SEIU bosses are able to grab. Unionized school dietician and nutrition jobs are booming. And in addition to school breakfast and lunch, the SEIU is now pushing subsidized dinner plans and summer food service to create a "stronger nutrition safety net." Translation: Perpetual employment for big government and its public employee union au pairs.
Cede the children, feed the state.
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