Groton-Dunstable School District plans to outsource good cafeteria jobs to problem-plagued vendor

Minimal savings threaten quality of program, workers’ benefits

Steve James, Angela Gagne, Dorynda Auth, JM, Karen Nardone, Leslie Colt, NO

(L-R) Steve James, Angela Gagne, Dorynda Auth, John Magner, Karen Nardone, Leslie Colt, and in front, Neal O’Brien.

Groton-Dunstable Regional School District managers are threatening to outsource cafeteria services currently being done by Local 888 members who work directly for the school district to a Long Island, NY-based company: Whitsons Food Service.

Whitsons has a terrible track record in Massachusetts and around the country. It has ignored complaints from parents and students about the quality of its food and cheated on its agreements with other public schools.  Whitsons was booted out of the Boston schools for multiple quality failures.

Click here for a fact sheet on Whitsons Food Service.

Management has presented an analysis contrasting the cost of keeping the work “in house” vs outsourcing the work to Whitsons Food Service.  The analysis shows a potential of $70,000 savings in the first year with as much as $90,000 savings in the third year of outsourcing to Whitsons.  The financial projections are based on the school district’s actual years of experience with providing cafeteria services and the self-serving projections provided by Whitsons to sell their services to the school district.

The difference in cost projections appears to be that the school district currently provides employees with health care and other benefits, while Whitsons’ employees receive no benefits.  Click here for G-DRSD income and expense projections

On Friday, March 29, Groton-Dunstable Regional School District Superintendent Dr. Laura Chesson notified the union that it was “terminating its contract with the cafeteria workers effective June 30, 2019.”  At the bargaining table the school district is using the threat of outsourcing to demand concessions from the already underpaid cafeteria workers.  Management has set a deadline of April 10 to make its final decision.  

Cafeteria workers and supporters plan to rally on April 10 at 6:00 PM at the High School. Click here for more info.

School Committee member Marlena Gilbert sent an email saying she was ‘concerned about the stress of the unknown for the café staff.’ “If the school committee is really concerned about our well being, then why are they outsourcing our jobs?” said cafeteria worker Dorynda Auth.

“I’m proud of our members who are fighting back,” said Local 888 President Brenda Rodrigues.  “Our union will do everything possible to expose the risks to school children and workers if management proceeds with outsourcing to Whitsons.  We are asking all concerned parents, teachers, and residents to contact the school committee to urge an immediate reconsideration of this decision.”

Need more info:  email Rand Wilson at 

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