Steward Spotlight: Debra Caison

UPS Shop Steward Debra Caison.

UPS Shop Steward Debra Caison.

UPS Steward Takes On Domestic Violence

Every Friday for six weeks instead of traveling to her regular job at UPS, Teamsters 856 Steward Debra Caison was spending the day in the classroom learning about the ways she can assist victims of domestic violence.

Caison’s hard work paid off, and this month the mother of five and grandmother earned her certificate in Domestic Violence Counseling, which enables her to give guidance and referrals to fellow Teamsters, and even their friends and family, who may need a way out of a tough situation at home.

Why did you decide to get your Certificate in Domestic Violence Counseling?

I’ve been involved in motorcycle charity fun runs for a while now, and one of the organizations we worked with was Building Futures, a San Leandro non-profit that helps domestic violence victims. As a steward, I realized this was an area where maybe the company was falling short. There are signs, like being late to work often or missing days, but eventually the excuses run out. I can help my co-workers and fellow Teamsters as a peer, not as management, so it may be less intimidating.

What is the first thing someone is experiencing domestic violence should do?

The first step is admitting there is a problem. That’s always the hardest. Perpetrators of domestic violence can be seriously controlling people, and the cycle can keep victims trapped in a dangerous situation for a long time that they don’t know how to get out of.

What do you want domestic violence victims to know?

Everyone deserves to be happy, healthy and to feel safe. When you have those things, you’re a much better worker and you can provide for yourself and your family. There are many resources available in the Bay Area. There’s hope, there’s help out there. If I can help just one person, it’s all worth it.