Members take action, enforce contract, and collect $16,000 in unpaid meal tickets


When DLC 729 President Nancy Martinez learned from Job Stewards at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) that members weren’t receiving their hard-earned meal tickets, she engaged her fellow member-leaders, took action, and ended up with a big win for her represented employees.

Our contract provides meal tickets—valued at $8— for employees required to work at least two hours in addition to their normal work shift (see details below).

Working together, Martinez, along with Bargaining Unit 20 Job Steward Patricia Costa and Bargaining Unit 17 Job Steward/district Bargaining Unit Representative (DBUR) Michele Taylor discovered a good number of contract violations; one member was owed up to $700!

It was learned that KVSP management was following an outdated Policy and Procedure, which it claimed superseded our contract. A grievance was filed, and discussions were held with KVSP labor relations, who admitted using an outdated policy.

Not satisfied, Nancy and the job stewards requested an audit, which uncovered some 2,000 unpaid meal tickets. Through their diligence and collaboration with the State, represented employees in Bargaining Unit 17 and Bargaining Unit 20 will receive $16,000 in reimbursements for meal tickets.

What you can do: Know Your Rights!

Article 12.8, Overtime Meal Benefits and Allowances, grants a paid meal or reimbursement when an employee works at least two additional hours on top of their regular 8-hour day. These benefits are available to many employees in a range of bargaining units and state agencies.

Read about meal ticket allowances online at It’s a mobile-friendly, fully searchable website that contains the hundreds of contract articles that govern our wages, benefits, and working conditions.