I prepare breakfast and lunch. I like to educate the kids about what they’re eating. It makes me proud to see that they’re awake and better prepared to learn because they’re well fed. I like my job but what I don’t like is the mistreatment and the poverty wages.

I make 11 dollars an hour. From 6:30 am to 7:00 am, I am solely responsible for preparing breakfast for 150-180 children. Our working conditions have continued to worsen. We’re doing two, three jobs at the same time. Prepping, serving, cooking, and cleaning. They sent us an assistant, but she left. People don’t stay. Many leave because the wages are much too low.

This really affects the students. Things aren’t done as they should be because we’re understaffed. Some of our students may not eat because we don’t have enough time to prepare enough food, others may not have enough time to eat because we need more staff to help serve. Of course, the working conditions are impacting the school environment.

People don’t want to apply to work here, or they have two jobs just to make it or they leave. There is constant turnover, and this impacts students. Eleven dollars is misery wages. If McDonald’s pays you better with the same disrespect as we experience here, of course, I understand why people leave.

That’s why we keep fighting. It’s not right that we work full-time and have dedicated years of our lives to our jobs and we still don’t earn enough to live. TAS must set an example for the community. Not only academically, but in the quality of jobs, they’re bringing to the neighborhood. We need to be united and fight for what we deserve. That’s the only way we can improve the academic environment for the students and lift our families out of poverty.

Dedicated education workers and parents of students at The Accelerated School (TAS) have been in contract negotiation for over a year with no progress. TAS employees are simply asking for fair wages that will allow us to raise our own children with dignity and ensure there is enough staff to provide the services students need. 

See pictures from October’s vigil.