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Food service workers at Lawrence retirement community file petition to unionize

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Food service workers at Pioneer Ridge Retirement Community in Lawrence have filed for an election to join Teamsters Local 696, according to a news release from the union.

The 20 workers include cooks, servers, housekeepers and dishwashers in the independent living facility’s restaurant, according to the release.

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“We see what’s going on nationally — at Chipotle, Starbucks, Amazon, Trader Joe’s — and we said, ‘Why not us?’” Jonathan Oliva, a Pioneer Ridge employee and member of the Teamsters organizing committee, said in the release. “We work hard. We care deeply about the residents of this community. We deserve a union just as much as anyone else, and we plan on getting one.”

The National Labor Relations Board will conduct a vote within the next 30 days, according to the release.

“These workers are critical to the residents of Pioneer Ridge, and they deserve respect from their employer,” Local 696 Secretary-Treasurer Matt Hall said in the release. “We are honored to be chosen by these workers, and we look forward to winning recognition and negotiating a first union contract.”

The executive director of Pioneer Ridge could not immediately be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

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