DGS Custodians Stand Together to Win Better Working Conditions

Article Published on August 5, 2022

More than 60 Unit 15 Custodians at three State buildings fought to preserve a more reasonable 2-shift schedule after Department of General Services management tried to impose a 3-shift schedule due to “operational need.”

The ‘middle’ of the three shifts—where most Custodians were placed—ran from 11:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. That schedule adversely affected the work-life balance of our represented employees by making accomplishing personal tasks before or after work difficult, impacting commute times and public transportation options, and generally disrupting their personal time and home life.

With nearly universal support, the affected workers took action together. Petitions were circulated, signed and presented to management, an email campaign targeting the deputy director of DGS was generated, and several Meet-and-Confer meetings were held to negotiate over the impacts of the proposed change.

Management backs down – members win!

On July 14, management acquiesced and rescinded the proposed schedule. They realized no good argument demonstrated “operational need.” What’s more, it became evident over the course of the campaign to fight for reasonable working conditions that DGS staff, along with some managers, did not support the 3-shift idea.

This win is an example of the power our members can bring and the success they can accomplish. It was a full Union effort, which included rank-and-file DGS employees and stewards, as well as Unit 15 Bargaining Chair Eric Murray and Jeff Graves from the Local 1000 Union Resource Center.

“After this long battle with [DGS] local management, our voices were heard! It took several meetings and a petition to get local management to hear us. But we made sure they did!”  
Tenika Clark, member activist/Custodian, LA Metro, JSB Bldg. (BU: 15, DLC 722)