With no new contract on the horizon, Eastern School District cafeteria workers are set to walk off the job Monday.
About 120 food-service workers from 42 cafeterias, employed by Ontario-based Chartwells, will set up pickets, following a strike vote in late January that was 93 per cent in favour of job action.
Ed White, the workers' national representative with the Canadian Union of Public Employees, said Friday the sticking point in contract negotiations is wages, but he didn't want to get into the details of offers from the company or the workers' demands.
"There'll be picket lines at a number of schools," he said, adding the picket lines won't block students or teachers from school property.
Also, where the pickets will be set up still has to be worked out, as some smaller schools involved have just one food-service worker.
"That's a decision we'll be working out over the weekend. In some cases there's one, in some cases, I think, the highest may be four to five."
White said the last time the union sat down with Chartwells to negotiate was in December.
"We've been in contact through the conciliation officer, and a couple of conversations with the employer, but there's been no face-to-face contact."
White said it's difficult to gauge how much public sympathy the strike will garner from inconvenienced students or parents.
"It's difficult to say in regards to support or alternative action that parents will have to take. I guess they'll make other arrangements, whatever it may be, whether it's packing lunch. I can't suggest what those arrangements may be," he said.
Ford Rice, the Eastern School District's CEO, sent a memo to parents and guardians Friday, advising them of the impending strike.
"Parents/guardians are advised to provide snacks and lunches for their children until further notice. All other school routines will continue as usual," he wrote. "The Eastern School District recognizes that this disruption in food services will be inconvenient for parents/ guardians and we hope that this situation can be resolved in a timely manner."
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