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July 17, 2024

Photos: PVUSD classified workers demand hazard pay

Editor’s note: This story was updated from an earlier version to correct errors in reporting.

About 100 Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) classified workers—bus drivers, mechanics, janitors and food services employees, among others—gathered in front of district headquarters in Watsonville Wednesday calling for hazard pay.

Classified employees say they deserve a Covid-19 relief stipend, and that they should be given one that is similar to that of the district’s teachers. The trustees approved a one-time $3,846 stipend for teachers who will be providing in-person instruction as well as distance learning in the same day.

But organizer and PVUSD bus driver Barbie Gomez says that classified employees do not have the option to work from home when schools return in early April.

“Nothing has been fair for anybody in this district at all,” said Gomez. “We’re doing our part as classified employees and all we ask is for equality.”

Gomez points to the food services employees and other classified employees who have been working throughout the pandemic—despite the school closures—without hazard pay.

“We’ve been on the front lines since the start,” Gomez said.

A cyclist shows solidarity with the PVUSD classified employees gathered Wednesday. — Tony Nuñez/The Pajaronian
Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor of The Pajaronian for five years and three years as Managing Editor. He is a Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus.

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