David Westberg, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 609, that’s who
Barbu says he’s just trying to get by. Critics say he and a handful
of vendors who sell pizza and other snacks near schools from vans and
trucks are not only undermining school officials’ efforts to get kids
to eat better, but also threatening the jobs of cafeteria workers.
This, it turns out, is both a competition for job security and a skirmish in the war against teenage obesity.
Citing the growing girth of Seattle’s schoolchildren, City Council
members voted yesterday to bar all kinds of mobile vendors from within
1,000 feet of schools.
The vendors have been allowed to sell within 200 feet. Their most
vocal critic has been David Westberg, business manager for the
International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 609, which represents
Seattle Public Schools’ cafeteria workers.
Westberg said only three or four people have been selling pizzas
near Cleveland, Franklin and Garfield high schools. Still, he’s
concerned the vendors could jeopardize union workers’ positions and
"If 16 kids go off campus, somebody’s mother loses health insurance," he said.