It’s the mother of all food fights – church ladies versus lunch ladies.
The controversy involves a church that received permission from the Seattle School District to serve free pizza to students at three area high schools.
A union representing public school cafeteria workers in Seattle, Washington erupted with rage last week – warning that the weekly pizza giveaway could result in cafeteria layoffs. They even accused Bethany Community Church of proselytizing with pepperoni.
“We are not telling them a Bible story before they get pizza,” Youth Pastor Nick Steinloski told television station KOMO.
He also said it is about showing the kids the church cares about them.
No sermon. Just two, hot slices of cheesy goodness – and according to the kids it’s a heckuva lot better than what they would get in the school cafeteria.
To say the lunch ladies got their hairnets in a twist would be an understatement.
The International Union of Operating Engineers launched a campaign to intimidate and bully the church into submission. It was ugly even by the union’s low standards.
“Until Bethany Community Church and ‘Pastor Nick’ honors his commitment to stop carelessly harming us in this way, we are asking participants to think about the effects of consciously and deliberately harming our families and community through their actions,” the union wrote on an inflammatory poster titled, “What God Hurts Innocent People?”
“We humbly seek to defend our livelihoods,” they added. And then they set off to slander the church’s good name.
The lunch ladies union accused the church of “luring” students off campus with “high fat, empty calorie pizza from boxes out of the trunk of a car.”
The stopped just short of calling them a bunch of child molesters dressed up like clowns driving around town in an ice cream truck.
One union thug left an ominous message on the youth pastor’s telephone.
“I felt intimidated by that message,” Pastor Nick told KOMO.
And they even threatened to picket the church unless they stopped serving pizza. They actually wanted to picket a House of the Lord.
The union goon squads eventually got what they wanted.
The church decided to stop serving free pizza at lunch and will instead do so after school.
“We do care about the workers, we care about the immigrant workers and those working here at the school,” the youth pastor said.
The union explained to the television station that cafeteria jobs are based on how many meals are sold. If fewer meals are sold, that means fewer workers are needed.
“That means a number of families will potentially lose health benefits and (ultimately) the basic income that supports them,” the union said in a statement.
And besides, the union added – “the kids love the nutritious pizza made under our HACCAP conditions.” (That stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point)
The young people beg to differ.
One youngster told KOMO that if the lunch ladies want them to eat cafeteria pizza – perhaps they should consider using a better recipe.
In the meantime, the kids might want to stock up on antacid tablets.