Classified employees present at LESC

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On September 19, 2013, eight educational assistants traveled to Clovis, New Mexico to testify to the Legislative Educational Study Council (LESC).  They were invited to tell their stories about the work that they do in the classroom and the need for living wages for classified employees.

‘I work as a nursing assistant...the work I do matters to the students who depend on my care and I do it because I love it but it is unfair that after 15 years of employment I earn only $15,000 a year,” said Kathy Sanchez a health assistant for APS.

Angie Damon a Kindergarten Instructional Assistant from Gallup also told members of the LESC “I come to work early and stay late, not because I have to but because I want to help these kids as much as possible.  This is my community. I am Navajo and over 85% of the kids I work with are Navajo.  Yes, I do my job out of love for the kids, but the fact that I do it for love doesn’t mean that I do not deserve to be paid fairly. My coworkers and I work all day in challenging situations. This is our livelihood and we deserve to be respected for our work.”

Legislators responded favorably to the testimony, stating that it has been over a decade since they last visited the subject of minimum wages for school employees.

“I was a little nervous at first, but I was glad I testified, it is important for lawmakers to hear first hand what we experience. I encourage all school employees to get involved in local events and join us in Santa Fe this winter,” Angelica Rodriguez,  Educational Assistant for the Gadsden School District.