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SEIU Launches Online Ads to Push for Robust Reauthorization of Child Nutrition Act
First step in major mobilization to reduce hunger, end childhood obesity, improve nutrition, and provide fair wages and healthcare for food service workers
WASHINGTON - January 20 - Today, in the first step of a major mobilization to pass a Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) launched a new online ad urging congress to expand the program. The online banner ads, which will run on Politico.com, RollCall.com, and TheHill.com through Feb. 5, link to a site where users can learn more about child nutrition reauthorization and contact their members of Congress.
“Given today’s economic crisis, child nutrition programs are even more critical in helping our nation’s future leaders receive the basic nutrition they need to flourish in school and in life,” said SEIU Executive Vice President Mitch Ackerman. “A more robust expansion of school lunch, breakfast, summer feeding, child care and WIC is critical to reducing hunger, ending childhood obesity, and providing fair wages and healthcare for front line food service workers.”
As part of SEIU’s national mobilization around reauthorization of the bill, this week, food service workers from across the country are in Washington, D.C. lobbying their members of congress.
“I love my work, but it’s getting harder to prepare nutritious meals on the low budget we’re working with,” said Leslie Williams, a Sodexo cafeteria worker at Lincoln Avenue Elementary in Orange, New Jersey. “It breaks my heart to see a child who’s hungry. As I see it, part of my job is to make sure the kids are well-fed.”
An estimated 400,000 workers prepare and serve lunch for school children in the U.S., including over 30 million students who rely on free or reduced-priced lunches for a healthy meal. Although they are responsible for the health and nutrition of our school children, many of these workers are paid wages so low that they could qualify for free and reduced-priced lunches as well as other publicly funded programs, based on the federal poverty line for a family of four.
“The work that we do—feeding children—is important,” said Gladys Estrada Díaz, a Sodexo cafeteria worker at Edison Middle School in West Orange, NJ. “But I am paid just $7.80 hour, which doesn’t correspond to the work I do and makes it impossible for me to afford health insurance and makes it nearly impossible for me to provide for my two kids.”
In the comings weeks, cafeteria workers hoping to improve their wages and the services they provide to our nation’s children, will continue lobbying in-district and in Washington for a robust reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. In addition to delivering this message at Sodexo’s annual shareholder meeting is Paris, France next week, workers will also take their message on the road—including to a school administrator’s conference next month.
To view the online ad and learn more about SEIU’s campaign to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, please visit: http://action.seiu.org/page/s/