Campus Security Officers (CSO) work throughout West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD), looking out for the well-being, as well as the safety of staff and students.
Recently, two CSOs refused to settle for a weak offer from WCCUSD, and instead pursued a remedy to their grievances that addresses systematic issues impacting all members of their classification.
Monica Byrd has been a CSO for WCCUSD for 16 years. For her, the opportunity to nurture and lend a listening ear to the children at her school is the best part of each day.
Recently, though Monica has 16 years on the job, she was passed over for an opportunity to work overtime, and instead the hours were given to a coworker with less seniority.
“Usually they contact you by seniority to work overtime, and for some reason they skipped me,” said Monica. “When I asked why, I was told the schedule was set while I was out on workers’ compensation.”
As a member of the WCCUSD Steering Committee, Monica knew to contact her Teamsters 856 representative, Veronica Diaz. And when she found out that fellow Helms Middle School CSO, Dominique Young was also passed over for overtime, Monica advised her to do the same.
“I told my rep what happened and asked what I needed to do,” said Dominique. “Veronica asked me to log who worked and what days they worked.”
Local 856 filed grievances on behalf of both Monica and Dominique. “By the time we elevated their individual grievances to human resources, the District was openly acknowledging that they had violated the contract,” said Veronica.
Although, WCCUSD did acknowledge the contract violation, they offered Monica and Dominique “make up” hours rather than back pay for the hours they should have been allowed to work. The District argued that “make up” hours were the way they’d always handled overtime scheduling violations in the past.
“We rejected their offer to make up the hours, because without a penalty, the employer has no incentive to correct their actions in the future,” said Veronica. “By paying the employees for hours they would have worked, the District acknowledges its violation and makes it up to the employee.”
During the process of settling Dominique and Monica’s grievances, WCCUSD violated the contract again when Joyce Esters, a CSO from Pinole Middle School was denied overtime in favor of a less senior CSO.
Monica and Dominique’s grievances were eventually heard by a mediator. The mediator recommended that WCCUSD pay both members for the days of work they were deprived, and the District agreed.
The settlement with WCCUSD goes beyond individual victories for Monica and Dominique. The District also agreed to form a committee of CSOs to address the systematic errors in overtime distribution, uniform stipends, and other issues.
“If you want things to change, you have to be willing to speak up,” said Dominique. “Right is right and wrong is wrong, and it’s good to know we have someone in our corner.”