What LAUSD’s New Minimum Wage Means for My Family
LA School Report | July 8, 2014
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By Raul Meza | Via: Thinking L.A., a partnership of UCLA and Zócalo Public Square
The Worst Thing About My Job as a School Custodian Has Always Been the Pay. Now I’m Imagining What a Difference $15 Per Hour Will Make.
Monday through Friday, my full-time job is cleaning restrooms at Van Nuys High School. But that work is not the hardest part of my life. The hardest part is saying goodbye to my 4-year-old son when he asks me not to go to work again. In order to make ends meet, I also work weekends and nights.
I know I’m lucky to have a full-time job as a facility attendant in the Los Angeles Unified School District. I’ve done that for 10 years, and some days are better than others, but I like the work, and my co-workers are a supportive second family. We don’t interact much with students, but those of us who do custodial work are eyes and ears for teachers and administrators. If I see a student needs help of any kind, I take pride in letting the right people know.
The one thing that hasn’t been good about the job is the pay. When I started 10 years ago, I made $8.65 per hour; now I make $9.85 per hour. But I just learned that’s going to change. SEIU Local 99, the union that represents me and more than 30,000 other LAUSD school workers, just negotiated a new contract that will raise my pay to $15 per hour by 2016. This is a big deal for the 20,000 of us who make LAUSD’s lowest wages and are covered by the raises.
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Raul Meza works at Van Nuys High School and lives in Pacoima