Since last fall, members of the Bethany Community Church in Seattle's Green Lake neighborhood have been handing out free slices of pizza at lunch time, but not everyone is happy with the gesture.
Youth pastor Nick Steinloski said the pizza giveaway is about connecting kids with adults who care about them.
At two slices per student, serving 250 students at each of three schools, he estimates the church spends 600 dollars a week on pizza.
The church serves the pizza just off campus at Nathan Hale, Ingraham, and Roosevelt high schools. It's once a week, just off campus at each school. A spokeswoman for the Seattle School Districts says the church notified them of the giveaway and it was "ok" with it.
But the union representing the district's cafeteria workers is not ok with it.
Last week, Steinloski says the union called them and said the church was taking away a job and hours from employees at school in the kitchen because kids weren't buying lunch. He says a union representative left a voicemail on the church's answering machine claiming handing out free pizza was irresponsible and costing people who serve the food at the schools their livelihood and accusing the church of doing whatever it took to proselytize to the students.
The business manager for the union confirmed he has complained to the church. Dave Westberg says workers' jobs are based on how many meals are sold. If fewer meals are sold, fewer workers are needed to prepare them.
Feeling pressure, the church will change its routine to serving free pizza after school instead of during lunch so there's no competition with lunchtime sales.
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