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Hamburg Central School food service workers have their first ever contract with the district.

The School Board Wednesday unanimously approved a three-year contract with the 24 food service workers, cooks and cook managers.

The cafeteria workers were not represented by a union, and had been working under a wage freeze since 2011, said Debra Lauria, union representative for Service Employees International 200 United.

“This was an issue for them, because everyone else has been getting raises,” she said.

Employees voted unanimously to join SEIU Local 200 United on Sept. 19, and unanimously approved the contract, which provides for 2 percent raises each year. It also provides for three wage steps for length of service.

Most employees were at the top step, but about five workers had not seen any step increases under the freeze. Lauria said they were brought up to the proper step level, in addition to receiving the 2 percent raise this year. The bargaining unit also won four paid holidays and four personal days.

The contract is retroactive to July 1.

SEIU also represents some of the support staff, including buildings and grounds workers and custodians, but the two will remain separate units, she said.

“Our negotiations went very well,” said Unit Chairwoman Alice Elavell. “The district worked with us. We received some of the things we asked for.”

Lauria said the new union shows the benefits of collective bargaining.

“Just the fact these folks had a pay freeze since 2011, and were the only ones who didn’t have a union, kind of speaks to the fact it does make a difference,” she said.

email: bobrien@buffnews.com