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Despite recent wage increases almost 1,000 full-time employees at Texas A&M still make less than a living wage, forcing many of these workers to live in poverty.
Sandra Roney is a custodial leader at Texas A&M and she says that most people just don't realize how little A&M custodians get paid or how much work they actually do.
"The workers don't complain, they come to work all day and work really hard, there is always somebody in custodial at A&M and they are great people, and they work for great people, it's just that they would like to get paid for the work they do," says Roney.
In an effort to increase the wages of custodians and other low-income employees at Texas A&M, The Living Wage Coalition organized an event to get A&M workers, faculty and staff, students, and the community involved and aware about the wage situation at A&M.
According to psychology professor Mary Meagher, "The faculty and staff that that have become aware of this problem are becoming involved and trying to support efforts to come up with a solution to increase their wage so it gets to a point where they can afford to feed their children, clothe their children, pay the rent."
The Living Wage Coalition is made up of more than 18 unified groups, but they say their mission is to work with the university and not against it.
"We are not confrontational that has not been our motive," says the Living Wage Coalition Chair, Cecilia Hawkins. "We want to work with the university because it's a really positive thing that we're doing."
Recently Texas A&M did raise the wages of several low income employees to just under eight dollars. However, the coalition would like to see another increase in the near future.
"It's absolutely a good start, it's a dollar-twenty more than those people are making right now, but that only affects about 300 workers," says Hawkins. "Another eight or nine hundred individuals are still making such a low wage that they are being kept in poverty."
A spokesperson from Texas A&M says that with President Gates out of town and with little information on the coalition's meeting, it would be inappropriate for the university to comment at this time.
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