Member Story – Diane Shepherd
“When we do a good job of protecting ourselves, we’re protecting others as well,”
While Diane Shepherd continues her essential work at CDCR as a Case Records Analyst, COVID-19 is impacting her personal safety and changing the way she does her job serving California.
And throughout it all, she’s using her skills as a union leader to keep the work flowing and her co-workers as safe and calm as possible.
“We provide documents and files about inmates to law enforcement agencies, courts, and government agencies in and out of California. None of them are working the traditional 5-day, 40-hour week,” said Diane. “They are all on different schedules, and we’re hustling to meet their expectations.”
“We’re also seeing an uptick in document requests from former inmates,” she added. “They’re seeking information about their release dates that could have an impact on their eligibility for pandemic relief from the federal government.”
Diane also faces challenges in her workplace, a central location housing Corrections files that serves as an annex to CDCR’s Folsom headquarters. “We are seeing multiple efforts to keep employees safe, but they’re uneven,” she said. “So, while we’re trying to observe social distancing and the other important practices, everyone isn’t participating, and that means more risk.”
“Management split our office staff in half, with one group working a 5:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. shift and another 1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.,” she reported. “That’s a good step, but we need more thorough cleaning of office surfaces and common areas, like bathrooms and break rooms—and stronger directives to staff to follow common-sense precautions.”
“The office atmosphere is tense because we’re not all taking preventative measures,” she said.
Meanwhile, Diane Shepherd continues to apply leadership skills earned over a 16-year tenure as a union steward to help calm her fellow members and encourage more of them to use masks and gloves. “When we do a good job of protecting ourselves, we’re protecting others as well,” she added.