DGS Washes its Dirty Laundry
Local 1000 wins settlement for DGS custodians
More than two hundred custodians working in the Department of General Services (DGS) will each receive $300 in a settlement that represents a victory for Unit 15 workers who are required to wear a uniform at work. The settlement covers “laundering and associated expenses” after several DGS custodians in southern California filed grievances complaining that the uniforms that they were handing over to the department for washing were coming back dingy and soiled. The cost of rewashing their uniforms –at home–began to add up.
“When state workers put on a uniform, they’re not just representing themselves or the department where they work. They’re representing their vocation. This settlement means that our custodians can be proud to wear their uniforms again,” said Maria Patterson, Vice Chair of Unit 15.
According to our contract, the state is responsible for providing laundry services for its custodians. This provision was supposed to ensure that all of the State’s custodial workers have clean uniforms every day they are required to work. Over the last year, it has meant that too many custodians have had to rewash their uniforms, at personal cost, because of poor laundering practices at DGS.
Contract enforcement made the difference
The full settlement covered 235 employees but came out of a handful of grievances. Local 1000 worked to organize these grievances and present them in a way that made it clear that DGS was in violation of our contract. This allowed custodians who were impacted to become a part of the settlement without having to file an individual grievance.
“This settlement is another example of what workers can accomplish with a contract and aggressive enforcement of its provisions,” said Patterson. “We’re pleased that we were able to get these workers reimbursed. But more important is that our DGS custodians can be confident that they’ll have clean uniforms to wear for work without having to pay out- of-pocket for laundering services. That means more money for gas and food. It will make a difference.”