South San ISD cafeteria workers demand better pay, equipment

Employees ask for $3/hour raise

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SAN ANTONIO - Roughly 20 cafeteria workers appeared before the South San Antonio Independent School District board Wednesday evening asking for better pay, equipment and clothing.

“A lot of these workers have been working here for 5 years and barely make over $7.75 an hour,” said Chavel Lopez with the Southwestern Workers Union, which helped organize the group gathering.

In a proposal submitted to the school board, the workers want a $3 an hour raise, better equipment and more clothing provided by the district that is of better quality.

“If we want good quality shoes, we have to pay $25 extra. And sometimes we buy our own aprons because they wear out,” said Elizabeth Hernandez, a cafeteria worker at Benavidez Elementary School for 9 years.

The district currently provides cafeteria workers with 4 shirts, 3 pairs of pants, 2 aprons, socks and standard issue shoes of roughly an $80 value.

If workers want to upgrade their shoes, they must pay the difference.

The workers are asking the district to provide them with 5 pairs of pants, 5 shirts, 3 aprons, and “good quality shoes that we do not have to pay extra out of our own pockets.”

The proposal also includes similar requests made on behalf of SSAISD cafeteria porters.

As far as pay is concerned, the district says a proposal is already in the works that would impact employees district wide.

“The district is working on a presentation to the board next month which is going to be for about $1.6 million to give all employees a raise,” said SSAISD spokesman, Ed Suarez.

Suarez says that proposal is not a result of the cafeteria workers’ complaints.

Chavel says its been 5 years since the roughly 120 SSAISD cafeteria workers have received a raise.

For now, their proposal is in the hands of the school board. Suarez adds that there is no timetable in which the board must decide whether to consider the requests.

"They put it out there and that’s certainly within their right,” Suarez said. “And now it’s up to the school board whether they want to address it in that manner."

For a list of recent stories Myra Arthur has done, click here.


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