To the editor:
I am responding to Mr. Binns' June 2 letter, "Take a hard look at school spending in Beverly." I am a cafeteria worker in the City of Beverly and it's obvious to me that Mr. Binns hasn't had lunch in a public school cafeteria in many, many years. Nor has Mr. Binns ever known the state regulations regarding meals per labor hours.
Mr. Binns, not only do we serve the main meal every day, we also offer spaghetti and meatballs, meatball subs, peanut butter and jelly, and peanut butter-and-Fluff sandwiches, various other subs, salads and bagel meals along with fresh fruit, veggies and milk and juice, all of which have to be made to meet government nutritional specifications. We also offer breakfast daily. After breakfast, we flat and cook 500 items, which we then bag. After we do all the prep work, we have to do the clean up, which is a job in itself. Then we serve 400 or so students who take lunch in our cafeteria daily. We also order supplies, then put them away when they come in. We complete daily, weekly, and monthly state-required paperwork. We carry daily cans and boxes that weigh 50 to 60 pounds.
We have seven women who work in my cafeteria and let me tell you that sometimes after working our shift it feels like we have put in eight hours. The women in my cafeteria (as are all the women who work in our cafeterias) are all hard-working, dependable, caring women who give 100 percent to the city.
I do not want to sound like I am complaining about my job. I love my job, the hours are good, the pay is better than average, and the women I work with are great. But, I would ask Mr. Binns, how many hours does he suggest we work? I resent the fact that he suggests our jobs were enhanced to meet the "magic 191/2 hours" to receive benefits. If that were the case, when state auditors come in, we would be directed to reduce staff to meet the Meals per Labor Hour guidelines.
In my opinion, every worker that gets benefits deserves benefits and shame on the City of Beverly for thinking otherwise. Mr. Binns, you are welcome to come to our cafeteria any time so you can see how things are really done. The next time you want to write a letter, you should do your homework and not speak of things which you clearly know nothing about.