The Bethany Community Church in Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood was just looking for a way to better connect adults with students in its service area. Unfortunately, the church’s leaders forgot to account for the rabid nature of union leaders in our public schools.
Bethany leaders decided that one way to show students that adults care about them was to hand out free slices of pizza once a week to students just off campus at Nathan Hale, Ingraham, and Roosevelt high schools. According to reports, the church notified the Seattle school district prior to starting the pizza giveaway and received the thumbs up.
Kids love it; the district is okay with it, so what could go wrong?
Well, a lot … because you are also dealing with union bosses. And, the union representing the district’s cafeteria workers is not ok with the pizza giveaway. Via KOMO News:
“Last week we got a call from a union,” said [youth pastor Nick] Steinloski. “They said we were taking away a job, hours from employees at school in the kitchen because kids weren’t buying lunch.”
He says a union representative left a voice mail on the church’s answering machine claiming handing out free pizza was irresponsible and costing people who serve the food their livelihood, accusing the church of doing whatever it took to proselytize to the students.
“He said that if we stop serving them pizza, we would start serving them drugs,” said Steinloski. “I felt intimidated by that message.”
Dave Westberg, the business manager for the union, admitted he called the church to level the accusations. We assume that the reference to “drugs” was meant to intimidate/threaten by suggesting the union would accuse the church of giving students drugs if they did not stop handing out pizza.
Westberg justifies his actions by claiming “free pizza is replacing roughly 500 purchased meals each week, and that is equal to 20 labor hours.”
Westberg’s calculations assume that, if students do not get free pizza the one day a week that the church hands it out, they would buy food from the cafeteria. But, that’s not necessarily true.
Sophomore, juniors, and seniors are allowed to go off campus for lunch.
As one Nathan Hale student told KOMO, “That’s why it really doesn’t make sense… Because if we can go down the street and get food from a restaurant, why can’t we come out here and get free pizza that people want to give to us?”
In order 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.”
Of course, despite getting its way, the power-crazed/super-controlling union representative had to have the last word. Westberg said, “We are presuming honesty on pastor Nick’s part that they will stop serving during lunch. If they don’t stop we will be picketing.”
Presuming honesty on the part of the pastor? Picketing a church handing out free pizza to high school students? The bizarre “drug” comment left on the church’s answering machine? It’s as though Mr. Westberg cannot hear himself speak, since the absurdity of his words is astounding.
No good deed goes unpunished… union bosses will make sure of that.
That’s EXACTLY why the unions ought to be banned from the school system.
Chan Bailey says
If 20 hrs. per week spread over 3 high schools is that big a deal to the union the kitchens are overstaffed for sure. The church pastor should have stood his ground.
Brad Fish says
Really? The union rank and file is okay with this? Unbelievable.
James E. says
Just an FYI for those interested. Here is link for the union
A link to the their contact page:
And a link to their insanely worded propaganda flyer about the issue:
Maybe they should stop serving pre-made Michelle Obama food and arugula for lunch at the school cafeteria and go back to MAKING the nice food they used to actually COOK at the school. Jerks!
Molly, did you ever eat the “nice food” that you referred to? School pizza is like wax covered cardboard. The church pizza is an improvement, trust me!
Next logical step: the union starts intimidating all nearby nonunion restaurants the kids frequent. Next logical step after that: restaurant unions catch on and start intimidating non union restaurants for threatening their employees’ jobs.
This was only one lunch a week for only a few hundred hungry teens (probably 3-4 slices for many guys). It makes one wonder if this union employee feels so impotent that he genuinely thinks he can’t protect a few union employees for only one lunch per week. Shame on him for rebuking a church for trying to reach out to students in a very low impact way.
Very unfortunate the pastor chose the low conflict route, he should not have backed off. I hope he rethinks this. Sometimes the Gospel is messy. The message the kids got is this: if someone threatens you when you practice generosity in the church, do not stand up for this act of giving and for your beliefs. Thank God Jesus’s disciples did not back down when they were threatened by Roman and other establishment thugs.
As I recall, the disciples of Jesus went into hiding. It’s human nature to avoid conflict and find a new way to approach a problem.
That’s exactly correct. They thought it was all over. They feared for their lives. Then He appeared among them and instructed them to wait until the Holy Spirit filled them on Pentecost. When this happened as promised, they started boldly and relentlessly proclaiming the Gospel, and never stopped until they were martyred or (in John’s case) died of old age.
Grumpy Guy says
Union boss being a douchebag. Surprises no one.
Bill Duffy says
If I was the church….I wouldn’t stop. Make a union picket the church. Make sure that the press is there. Make sure that they get good pictures of the union bullies getting offered free pizza.
Can’t get better press than that.
Unions = terrorists
That might be a little extreme. It’s not like people are being killed. LOL
Have you tasted the food in a school cafeteria lately? If it doesn’t kill you, you might wish it did.
Typical union mentality. Bitch about one day a week depriving union members of their livelihood yet if their demands aren’t met, they will strike. How many hours of members time do they think that won’t be wasted in that endeavor? “Oh. We didn’t think about that.” Duh.
Craig Galat says
Another idiotic tirade by leftist gorillas. Hopefully sometime they will evolve into human beings and actually care for the students they are serving. If they were doing a great job, pizza would not be necessary, just my opinion, but I think the record shows I am right. Picketing giving students the only meal they may get? Not very ‘caring’ and ‘giving’ and ‘respecting the needs of others’ on the union’s part. In fact, it is insensitive, cruel, and dehumanizing.
School lunches suck and always have, so free pizza from anyone is going to be a hit. The union is overreacting since this giveaway was just one day per week. Besides, nothing free will last forever. This problem will resolve itself soon enough.