Seattle City limits concession hours, after complaint from labor union


From A business operating on Seattle Parks and Recreation property was told to stop serving food during school lunch hours, to avoid conflict with the union representing school cafeteria workers, who serve lunch at Garfield High School next door.

Artez Ford, who owns Garfield Eats, said he has lost 70 percent of his business since October, when he was forced to sign an amendment to his Parks and Recreation contract promising not to sell food between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

I signed it under distress because we had spent an awful lot of money. We had invested – our whole family – cousins, sisters, brothers,” he said.

This happened just days after Ford said a union representative came to his stand. The man told Ford he was representing cafeteria works at the school district. “He told me that there are real American families up at the cafeteria that’s trying to make a living,” Ford said.

KIRO 7 reached out to that union, Local 609B. KIRO 7 did not receive a response to our request for an on-camera interview, but a representative named David Westberg responded to initial questions over email. Westberg said that Garfield Eats was selling junk food, tobacco and beer. When KIRO 7 asked for evidence of this, Westberg did not reply.

Ford said he has never sold tobacco or alcohol. Students told KIRO 7 they had not seen those products for sale either. Tobacco and alcohol are prohibited in Seattle parks.

As for the claim of junk food, Ford said, “We’re totally disappointed. We really thought we were providing nutritious meals.” He said he sold four kinds of salads, cheeseburgers and hot dogs, among other things.

Students told KIRO 7 they preferred Garfield Eats, because of the low cost and vegetarian options. They now go to Ezell’s for fried chicken, or to AmPm, a gas station convenience store.

KIRO 7 asked the Department of Parks and Recreation for an explanation of the circumstances. While representatives declined a request for an interview, they said in an email that “we have had a vendor there in years past, and we have always tried to be good neighbors with the school district and have asked previous vendors to not sell during school lunch hours.”

In an email sent to Artez Ford directly, a Parks and Recreation employee named Antoinette Daniel wrote about Ford selling during lunch hours, “This is in direct conflict with the Garfield High School cafeteria staff’s efforts to serve lunch and their union.”

KIRO 7 looked through the contract between Local 609B and Seattle Public Schools. There was no language referencing activity off of school property. While a Seattle Public Schools spokesperson did not want to confirm this, he did write in an email that “SPS wouldn’t tell a vendor to stop selling food off school grounds.”

KIRO 7 obtained data from Seattle Public Schools, showing that the number of meals served per lunch hour at all high schools is below the target goal.

A third-party study of SPS nutritional services, sent to KIRO 7 by Local 609B, shows that only 18.9 percent of high school students participated in school lunch from 2015-16. It also said that 38.2 percent of high school students in the district qualify for free or reduced lunch.

“I used to come down here [to Garfield Eats] for lunch, like, all the time, because it was so much cheaper,” said freshman Makayla Clegg.

Ford said that his family struggled financially over the past season and cut back on spending, especially during the holidays “I haven’t been to the movies. We had no Thanksgiving, no Christmas. (on) Dec. 16, I decided, ‘I’m going to buy my daughter a Christmas tree.’ And I opened this store in violation,” he said.

Ford said someone from the Department of Parks and Recreation came that day to stop him.

Ford is now trying to obtain a new contract with the department for the next season. He said that the stipulation of not selling during school lunch hours — summer excluded — is still present in the contract. He does not want to sign the contract under those circumstances and is hoping to negotiate with the city.


7 responses to “Seattle City limits concession hours, after complaint from labor union

  1. DCG . . . this is a fabulous find. It points out all too well, that the City, and school unions are all too happy to enter into Gestapo-like behavior. Here in my neck of the woods, when Roosevelt High School, which is a mile away has their lunch periods . . . those kids swarm over to the Fred Meyer Store (grocery store with deli, Kroger owned,) they also go to Dairy Queen, and McDonalds, all three of these businesses are two blocks away from the school. High school students are notorious for NOT WANTING to eat in the school cafeteria. Just like in any other “business transaction” people (students) should be allowed to vote with their dollar. If they don’t want the union sponsored cafeteria slop . . . they should be allowed to go where they want.

    From this article, it’s very interesting that the students now go to a “fried chicken joint, or the AM/PM convenience store, but because these locals are established on lands not owned by the city, they cannot be coerced into closing for the school lunch hours.

    I find it astonishing that although 38.2% of this school’s students are eligible for government help in paying for their lunch . . . roughly only half (18.9%) of students take the “free food.” In order words, these poor folks choose to spend their household dollars on foods purchased, other than accept the free food. It does make one wonder just how “needy” these students, and their families really are.

    It is truly laughable to read . . . “the number of school lunches served in all high schools is below the target goal.” This would lead the reader to think . . . gosh, it sounds like these school cafeterias are all about providing jobs for these union members, and not so much about feeding kids!

    There just is no doubt that the City of Seattle is a Hell hole of union dominated Socialism, and this scenario seems to prove that point!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It’s time for The government to quit kow-towing to union’s. If the kids don’t like what the school is serving the should not be forced to buy it and eat it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Local 609B should be contracted to supply labor to remove the air in student vehicle tires when the students arrive at 8 AM. They can air them up at 3PM when school is out of session.

    Win, Win! Pupils are held captive to union food and drink, union gets to hire more muscle, pension plans are topped off, everyone is happy!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Evidently it works both ways sometimes—here in CA the restaurant lobby convinced our state legislature maybe 20 years ago that school cafeterias were NOT licensed food perveyors. So, the legislature closed down all the school cafeterias in our district. All the local major fast-food chains arrive each day with mobile “hot carts” and set up for both break and lunch on our campus. So, now, unless they want to eat the pre-prepared, shipped in Michelle Obama packaged food (all “whole grain” that is certainly mostly tree cellulose, with no salt, no sugar, no fat)…..which uniformly is certifiably inedible….they buy Domino’s Pizza, KFC, and etc. from the food carts….b/c THEY are “licensed restaurants.” Every once in a while, you can buy a salad….otherwise it’s mashed potatoes or tator-tots, with chicken nuggets….or a slice of cardboard pizza that was probably baked the night before and left behind….they unload it on the kids at $3 a slice…..

    In the spirit of research, I’ve tried it all (I usually pack my lunch…have so for years)……even the Michelle Obama fare……and it is all truly disgusting. Even back in the day when my kids were in school…they mostly packed their lunches b/c, even with cafeterias in their day….there was too much greasy pizza and fried food….GONE are the days (when both of my grandmothers worked in school cafeterias) when you got a “plate lunch” of a big slab of homemade meatloaf, green beans, and a baked potato…….or, at the very least, a “tray lunch” of p-nutbutter and jelly sandwich and a piece of fruit.

    Liked by 3 people

    • CalGirl . . . . There is something sad in the fact that the hot “plate lunch” of yesterday has been abandoned, and all this garbage food (including Mooche’s favorites) have replaced them. I think the food of yesterday was much more nutritious, and appealing. Today so many kids get the junk food at school, and because their mother’s are working out of the home . . . often the dinners that are being served are also stuff out of a box, or fast food because Mama is just too tired from working her job to fix a real meal at home. It is little wonder that today’s kids are having problems . . . they just do not get real nutrition. Hopefully today’s children take quality vitamins to make-up for the lack of real nutrition in their lives.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s