News From Houston Independent School District:
August 2001


Vote Larry Marshall Out in November

On May 15, Local 100 staff and members met with Houston Independent School District (HISD) Board Trustee Lawrence Marshall to discuss the discontinuation of HISD's contracts with ARAMARK and ServiceMaster. Mr. Marshall made it clear that he had no intention of even considering voting against the continuation of either contract. We asked him to speak to HISD employees so that he could hear from them the actual problems they face every day from the companies. He flatly refused.

The union will not support for reelection any trustee who votes in favor of outsourcing. We ask that if you live in Mr. Marshall's district, you do not vote for him. We are currently in the process of finding another candidate who will support us on this issue and we will do a mailing to members who live in his district to let them know who we find.


in November!

Most HISD board members past and present realize the value of teachers. They know that they must keep the teachers happy to keep their voters happy because happy teachers educate their children better. Unfortunately, however, many times they overlook the other school employees, employees who are just as important as the teachers and administrators -- the support staff. They keep the students fed, keep their halls, classrooms and restrooms clean, yet they are all too often overlooked.

There is one trustee who recognizes the importance of these workers: Karla Cisneros. She is up for reelection in November and has our whole-hearted vote. She has supported us on the outsourcing issue since she was appointed to the District 1 seat and has even helped us in persuading some of the other trustees to vote against outsourcing.

There is no one running against her yet, but if you live in Mrs. Cisneros' District, be sure to register to vote if you are not already registered, and vote for Karla. She is a friend to all of the employees of HISD, not just the teachers.


Sub-Standard Wages Paid to Custodians at
Chavez & Westside High Schools

Aztec Inc., a private janitorial service that pays only $6 an hour and no benefits, employs custodians at both of these new high schools. Even if the custodians work forty-hour weeks year-round, their yearly salary comes to only $12,500 a year, $10,000 less than starting salaries for custodians employed by HISD.

Not only do the custodians receive sub-standard pay, they do not receive health care benefits or a pension. The total savings to the District each year is over $16,000 for each worker.

Austin High School Plant Operator, Rudy Perez said, "If we keep letting them pay workers these low wages, someday they will do it to the whole District." The District agreed that if this works at the two new high schools, they would try it at others.

Our goal for this semester is to make Aztec pay comparable wages and benefits or run them out of the District. Slave labor may be commonplace in private industry, but at a public school named after Cesar Chavez, a hero of working men and women everywhere, it cannot be allowed.

Fifty-four percent of HISD's children are Hispanic, yet the District sees fit to employ companies that exploit Hispanic workers by paying them less than a living wage, taking no responsibility for their health and offering no pension for their old age. This is a prime example of an oppressed majority being taken advantage of by a powerful minority. If this minority-dominated Board of Trustees cannot see the injustice in the Aztec contract, they should be replaced by caring people who do.