ST. CLOUD -- For the second time in a month, another group represented by SEIU has brought concerns over their pay and benefits to the District 742 School Board.

The nutritional services staff voiced their concerns this time, less than a month after clerical workers brought similar issues before the board. The nutritional staff, like the clerical staff, have worked without a contract since Jul 1, 2017.

Carol Hanson is the Union Representative for SEIU Local 284. She says the nutritional workers in District 742 do not make the same as comparable districts. A concern also raised last month by clerical workers.

"We're talking about a two to six dollars less an hour difference in pay. And if we look at just the surrounding districts, it's significantly less."

SEIU says their members cannot afford healthcare costs. They claim employees have received letters from the district saying their paychecks are not enough to cover healthcare, and they owe the district money.

Hanson says it costs their members far more than other district employees to pay for their health insurance.

"Administration pays around $500 a month [in insurance], our members pay around $1,200 a month, which is usually the other way around, where the employer would pay more."

SEIU says after costs get taken out, some of their members make less than minimum wage. The union says this causes these workers to leave the district. Saying this is a significant loss because they're the employees who "cook for and feed students".

In a statement, District 742 says they're committed to a successful settlement of a contract. Saying they've met for five bargaining sessions, and two mediation sessions. The latest session was last Friday, where an agreement was not reached.

The district declined further comment due to the confidential nature of the mediation process.

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