Cafeteria workers stage sick leave in Wake County public school system

North Carolina’s largest school system said none of its students went hungry on Tuesday despite an illness among school cafeteria workers demanding better pay and working conditions.

Wake County public school system leaders warned parents that another illness could impact food services at other schools on Wednesday, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

Late Monday evening, the Wake County School System alerted families at 32 schools to bring their own lunch on Tuesday because the system could not guarantee meal service. But a tweet sent out in the morning said the school district was able to provide meals to every student who wanted one.

The school district provided packed lunches to students, according to school spokeswoman Lisa Luten. Luten also said parents and local businesses and restaurants also brought food to students on Tuesday.

WCPSS warned Tuesday evening that 15 schools could be affected by staffing shortages on Wednesday.

The work stoppage comes as a 19% vacancy rate is forcing cafeteria workers to do more work than before. Two weeks ago, dozens of WCPSS school bus drivers called in sick for a three-day protest that disrupted bus service for many students.

Jeremy S. McLain