We united to demand management stop their shift change plan which would have moved most evening shift custodians to day shift on August 14th.
20 custodians and supporters delivered a petition (see other side) to Vice President of Administrative Services Bruce Riveland, VP of Administrative Services and shared how the shift change would hurt our lives and students, highlighting:
- Pay cuts due to loss of evening shift differential & having to quit second jobs
- Scheduling problems including having to find different childcare and many of us not being able to arrive by 6am
- The disrespectful way management proposed this having failed to follow the process laid out in our contract or even consult us
As a result of our unity, management agreed to delay the shift change until after we negotiate an agreement but continued their practice of disrespect by refusing to schedule negotiations during our normal workday making it challenging for most of us to attend. We are scheduled to meet with management on August 17th in the morning.
We expect more from a college that rightful strives to eliminate institutional racism and achieve equity and diversity. Despite these goals, many workers of color perform difficult work for the lowest wages in the college district and are not involved in even the most basic decisions about their work. We believe an injury to one is an injury to all, and strive to build a workplace that reflects our values.
As long time workers at Seattle Central, some for over 20 years, we agree that this decision is not right for the college. It impacts the safety of the students and staff with less people on campus to look out for others. It amplifies the rodent problem with food left in trash bins, particularly the culinary areas. And it increases the risk of students, staff, and the public coming into contact with needles and other hazardous materials left around campus that is usually picked up at night. Other logistical problems come into play, when considering how the work will be done with students on campus, how classrooms will be cleaned when occupied, how bathrooms will be cleaned when students and staff ignore signage, and how our mobility will be limited due to restricted elevator usage as priority is given to students.
Recent challenges within the custodial department led to a mediation meeting involving the Director, Manager, Custodial Staff, HR, and WFSE shop stewards. As a result of this meeting, a memo dated July 11th was sent by HR to Chuck Davis, outlining steps to “clarify workplace expectations, as well as improve accountability”. However, the very next day, management notified the custodial staff of the proposed shift change. We believe management should focus on solving the identified challenges through the methods outlined in the memo before upending our lives and making it more difficult to keep our campus clean.