As evidence that public sector unions still carry significant clout after last week's drubbing in the recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, union school cafeteria workers in the Sharpsville Pennsylvania School District won a significant victory this week, gaining the right to eat all of the expired and outdated food they wish, and they won't even have to pay for it.
Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) filed the grievance in 2011, based on the allegation that the school district “violated established past practice” by charging cafeteria workers for food or drinks that couldn't be sold or consumed by students.
This included food or drinks with expired dates or that had been reheated. Safe food standards and regulations prohibit such items from being sold or served to students. But the district has agreed to a settlement, and cafeteria employees may now consume all the free expired food they please, but they acknowledge it is at their own risk.
I would imagine this settlement is a potential threat to the area's homeless population, as it could significantly reduce the amount of consumables distributed via the cafeteria waste bins. No one was available for comment from the Fraternal Order of Dumpster Diving (FOODD).
There was also no word on whether these employees must actually sign a waiver prior to consuming such food, or if the assumption of risk is just, well, an assumption. I am left to wonder what the potential liability is for the employer, should an employee consume expired food on the job and become ill as a result. I am also left to wonder who would really want to fight for the right to eat expired food for free.
Of course, the district position wasn't much better, since they simply wanted to charge the employees for food they couldn't sell.
I suppose in this day and age you choose the battles you think you can win.