School Union Wins Right to Eat Expired Food

Cafeteria workers in one Pennsylvania school can now eat food that is past its expiration date after a settlement was reached with the local school district.

The school workers who are members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee union filed a grievance in 2011, stating that union members had been prevented from consuming the expired food.

The workers, who are part of the Sharpsville Area School District, were able to come to an agreement over what members have to pay for and what they may eat for free.

Representatives from the union had been working tirelessly to resolve this dispute and were successful when the agreement was approved with a unanimous vote by the school board on May 21.

The school board released a copy of the agreement following a request by The Herald of Sharon. Bob Tesone, the school boards solicitor, approved the release.

The dispute over the cafeteria food arose after an allegation the school district had "violated established past practice" when they started making cafeteria workers pay for food and drinks that were not allowed to be sold or given to students.

Any food or drink item that was past its expiration date or foods that had been previously reheated, under state law, are not allowed to be sold or given to students.

With the new agreement, cafeteria employees are allowed to eat or drink any item that is expired for free. They do understand that they will be doing so at their own risk and may not share or give those particular items to any other party, according to the agreement.

The agreement only specifies expired products. Any food that is not expired must be paid for.

The agreement was negotiated by school superintendent Mark Ferrara and board President Bill Henwood and by Bob Calvin and union President Tammy Scott, as reported by The Herald of Sharon.