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  • TCCLC SUPPORTS FWISD - NO OUTSOURCING - NO PRIVATIZATION

    First, let me begin by saying that we want better food options and higher quality food for students.  You heard the cafeteria employees say, “Let us cook.”  As Mr. Ramos has said many times, this is not an issue that pits students against employees and vice versa.  I sincerely believe we all want the same outcomes.  It is just a matter of how and the proposal as it stands right now will do long-term harm to the families and communities that rely on these honorable jobs.

    Current campus-based employees remain FWISD employees, but future vacancies will see these positions privatized

    From the beginning, FWISD will have a blended workforce of FWISD and privatized employees and over time all positions will be completely privatized.  It was not until the RFP was issued that employees learned that campus-based positions would be privatized through attrition.  All along they were told campus-based positions would be FWISD employees “now and forever.”  There are many questions current employees have as to how a blended workforce will operate and real concerns that they will be targeted and harassed to leave, or unfairly terminated, so their positions will be privatized.

    Privatized positions degrade the honorable work performed by employees

    Families and the communities they serve rely on the honorable jobs offered to cafeteria employees.  The employees are overwhelming female and, more specifically, Hispanic females.  They work for decades in our schools and become a part of the community, in part, because of the benefits FWISD and the state offers. 

    When these FWISD positions are privatized due to attrition, many of the benefits go away.  Private food service companies do not provide the same level of benefits to their hourly employees as you currently do.  It is hard to determine the exact benefits these companies offer because they each offer levels of benefits to employees who “qualify”.  Some do not offer health care or paid sick leave unless you are an employee who “qualifies”.  For example, one company defines eligible employees as those who “work an average of 30 hours or more per week over a 52-week period.”  Campus-based employees may not qualify using this criteria since they do not work summers and, therefore, would not average at least 30 hours of work over a 52-week period.

    Cafeteria employees at TCU, and other locations around the nation, lost health insurance and sick leave when the company they worked for imposed new eligibility rules (https://www.tcu360.com/story/19352employees-lose-benefits-after-sodexo-reclassifies-workers/).  Here is a follow-up article of how the employees began to unionize and benefits were ultimately restored:  https://www.dallasnews.com/business/business/2014/07/16/tcu-food-workers-unionize .

    How would these privatized positions with inferior benefits cause harm to families and students?  Take paid sick leave as an example.  The district provides all food service employees 10 paid-time off days a year (5 state personal leave days mandated by the state and 5 local sick leave days).  Privatized companies, to my knowledge, do not offer the same number of days.  Privatized cafeteria employees who take care of their children and grandchildren will have to decide to lose a day of pay and possibly be terminated if they take a day off if anyone is sick and they do not have paid time off.  If they, themselves, are sick and do not have paid time off they will lose a day of pay and risk being terminated or, in the alternative, come to work sick and make meals and serve our students.

    In the long-term, all cafeteria employees will be privatized and these current honorable jobs and benefits you offer will not be available to the families and communities that rely on them.

    There are other options

    FWISD can look at other large, urban school districts that run their food service divisions well, learn best practices, and hire quality managers to lead the way.  In the alternative, school districts like Keller, which I believe a few of you visited, can provide guidance to how their food service program is successful for them.  They outsourced the management of their program to an outside company but kept the cafeteria employees as Keller employees.  I sent an Open Records to Keller and received their food service contract.  FWISD could do something similar and retain campus-based employees “now and forever” as they were told all along.

    -United Educators Association

    Message will be emailed to the following recipients:

    Tobi Jackson, Angel Luebanos, Christene Chadwick Moss, Judy Needham, Ashley Paz, Jacinto Ramos Jr, T.A. Sims, Ann Sutherland, 

    Subject:

    Message:

    I want to express my concern over the possible privatization & outsourcing of Fort Worth Independent School District [FWISD] jobs on behalf of the over one thousand Cafeteria/Nutrition workers employed by the FWISD. 

    It has come to my attention that the FWISD School Board is voting Tuesday April 23rd, to accept a contract from out-of-state food service contractor; Illinois based Sodexco, to provide food and food service for our public schools’ lunches and breakfasts for our public school students in Fort Worth. 

    Privatizing and outsourcing these workers is unacceptable.

    Take whatever steps necessary as a board member to insure that current and future Cafeteria/Nutrition workers’ jobs remain as Fort Worth ISD jobs - for the Fort Worth community - and the citizens of Tarrant County. Do NOT allow ANY outsourcing of the nutrition for our children to some corporate office in Chicago or Philadelphia. 

    We are Tarrant County, Fort Worth, of Texas, and we take care of our own.

    Privatized positions degrade the honorable work performed by employees

    These FWISD jobs provide for a living wage for workers in Tarrant County – They are FWISD employees. They are not XYZ Food Slop Inc. ‘Associates’.  Current employees and future employees that care for the future of our community are to be employed by the school district in their community. Being a FWISD employee makes them a connected part of our community. If these jobs are outsourced to an out-of-state 3rd party vendor, that connection will be lost. If there is one place in our society that should foster, encourage, nurture and grow the connection to community in all its policies, contracts, employee engagement, and business affairs it should be the public schools of that community.

    Families and the communities they serve rely on the honorable jobs offered to cafeteria employees.  The employees are overwhelming female and, more specifically, Hispanic females.  They work for decades in our schools and become a part of the community, in part, because of the benefits FWISD and the state offers. 

    Any discussion to outsource these jobs of the FWISD Cafeteria/Nutrition workers should be shelved immediately. Do not ‘Wal-Mart’ the Fort Worth ISD!

    There are other options

    FWISD can look at other large, urban school districts that run their food service divisions well, learn best practices, and hire quality managers to lead the way.  In the alternative, school districts like Keller, which I believe a few of you visited, can provide guidance to how their food service program is successful for them.  They outsourced the management of their program to an outside company but kept the cafeteria employees as Keller employees.  I sent an Open Records to Keller and received their food service contract.  FWISD could do something similar and retain campus-based employees “now and forever” as they were told all along.

    The Tarrant County Central Labor Council will stand with those that stand with working families and we will remember those that do not.

    We stand in solidarity with FWISD Cafeteria and Nutrition workers.


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