PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Pawtucket Public Schools will be in session on Friday after the city’s cafeteria workers reached a deal with their employer.
The union that represents the 81 workers said they were able to come to an agreement over a pay dispute with Aramark, narrowly avoiding a strike.
Under the new contract, the employees will get an additional $1.20 an hour over the next three years, shrinking the pay gap.
“I think we should actually be paid for what we do, and we do a lot of these children,” said Tolman High School cafeteria worker Lori Foti. “We feed them breakfast and we give them lunch.”
The city’s school department was planning to cancel school on Friday if the workers went ahead with the strike.
The cafeteria workers said going on strike would’ve been a last resort.
“I’ve been here for 20 years,” Foti said. “I love my job and I love the kids, and it’s just not fair.”
“Can’t do much living paycheck-to-paycheck. That’s what we’re here to fight for,” added Goff Junior High School worker Cassondra King.
The union said it’s satisfied the strike isn’t happening and called the deal a victory.
The new contract expires in April of 2019.
Aramark released a statement after the agreement was reached, saying, “we respect and value our employees who prepare and serve nourishing meals to Pawtucket schools students, and are pleased to reach an agreement that works for everyone.”