Earlier this month, a union boss for cafeteria workers threatened Bethany Community Church in Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood for handing out pizza to students just off campus at Nathan Hale, Ingraham, and Roosevelt high schools. Dave Westberg, the business manager for the union, admitted he called the church to level accusations.
According to Westberg, students’ access to “free pizza is replacing roughly 500 purchased meals each week, and that is equal to 20 labor hours.” Thus, the union boss felt compelled to attack the church for taking away 20 hours of pay a week from his members.
Of course, that claim is ridiculous. Westberg’s calculations assume that, if students did not get free pizza the one day each week that the church was handing it out, that they would buy food from the cafeteria.
But, sophomore, juniors, and seniors are allowed to go off campus for lunch — and often do that. Additionally, some students bring their lunch from home. The calculations are baseless.
Well, the union just took its unreasonable hostility to the next level.
A flier the union (the International Union of Operating Engineers) is now passing out reads, “What God hurts innocent people?” It goes on to use outrageous language, claiming the church is “luring” students off campus by serving “high fat, empty calorie pizza” — as if the union really cares about students’ nutrition.
In an effort to avoid unnecessary conflict and demonstrate that it cares about the schools’ workers, Bethany Community Church said it would “change its routine to serving free pizza after school instead of during lunch so there’s no competition with lunchtime sales.” Unfortunately, if the flier is any indication, that gesture hasn’t pleased the hostile unions.
The flier goes on:
“We have humbly asked both Bethany Community Church and “Pastor Nick” to stop doing this and offered to work with them so as to bring about a mechanism whereby they could purchase the pizzas from school kitchens (the kids love the nutritious pizza made under our HACCAP conditions) so as to protect our livelihoods and make for a “win/win” situation, but Bethany has rejected this offer but has agreed to distribute this junk food after school in the future.”
So, apparently, the union is upset that Bethany Community Church didn’t agree to be extorted by the union. Of course the union is just trying to blackmail the church into purchasing its “[supposedly] nutritious pizza” and pass it out to kids who — according to the potential eaters of said pizza — DON’T like it. That would ensure sales that would otherwise not have been possible.
The union wraps up its embarrassing flier by insinuating that “junk food” is not fit for high school students, but is for a homeless shelter. It suggests that the church give their free pizza to a homeless shelter nearby rather than to students.
As KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson recently pointed out, this story has garnered national attention, and it is the union that looks bad. The union has thoroughly embarrassed itself — its little flier makes it worse.
You can check out the flier below: