Biden task force recommends school nutrition workers be full-time

The guidance comes from a report released this week by the administration's Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment.
Cafeteria workers serving food.
Photo: Shutterstock

The Biden administration is recommending that school cafeteria workers be employed full-time via a new report from the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment.

In the report, which was released this week, the task force directs the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to utilize its purchasing power with subgrantees and their contractors to hire full-time workers in school nutrition programs.

Using full-time employees over part-time ones would help prevent school meal service interruptions and would likely increase union density and the probability of other safeguards for workers, argues the task force, which was formed in April to pinpoint ways to further the Biden administration's "policy of support for worker power, worker organizing, and collective bargaining.”

The report also directs state education agencies to perform administrative reviews of school nutrition programs that include "a review of workforce continuity and non-disruption assurances."

Labor shortages have been a major disruption for school nutrition programs across the country. In a survey released by the School Nutrition Association late last year, nearly all (95%) of survey respondents said that staff shortages are a challenge for their program.

In an effort to mitigate those issues, North Carolina and Utah have allowed state employees to receive paid time off to serve as school nutrition workers at schools that are short staffed. 


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