UCSB Custodians Petition for Family, Stability


Nathalie Vera
Staff Writer

The shifts of all University of California Santa Barbara laborers and custodians will soon be combined into a single graveyard shift. As of Sept. 4, the workers’ 4 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. shift will be eliminated and replaced by a 2 am to 10:30 a.m. shift. The workers are currently gathering signatures on a petition to maintain their current shifts.

While some workers already work the 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. shift, UCSB intends to place all workers under the same hours by completely eliminating the afternoon shift. The goal of this dramatic change is to solve inconveniences such as finding replacements for workers who call in sick. With everyone on the same time schedule, there would never be a shortage of available workers.

The workers said that this schedule modification would not only affect their daily routines, but would also significantly alter their health, family life and economic stability. Many of them work second jobs and would be forced to renounce one for the other. Furthermore, many of these custodians feel that they have provided a clean and fresh work and study environment for over ten years, sustaining UCSB as a campus that emanates respect, instills appreciation and inspires its faculty and students.

The laborers strongly feel that readjusting their schedules would be an unfair and disrespectful form of repayment, especially since the schedule change is slated to occur the day after Labor Day.

For these reasons, the laborers and custodians have been organizing an effort to maintain their original shift, as it is crucial for several of them to attend to secondary jobs or fulfill personal responsibilities during the hours they have off.

“I have a son with special needs who often suffers convulsions, and I need to be with him during the morning hours to give him his medicine,” says Gloria Marin, a UCSB custodian of eleven years.

Like Marin, Marbella Rivera, who’s been a custodian for nine years at UCSB, must also attend to her daughters, who cannot move or talk. Rivera takes them to school and therapy every day, in addition to caring for her two younger sons. Rivera is her family’s sole breadwinner, and altering her already busy schedule could bring forth life-changing consequences; her kids depend exclusively on her.

Petra Manzanares also acts as the main financial supporter for her family, and said that the shift change would keep her from personally providing his elderly father the help he needs.

“For twelve years, I have worked at this university during the evening. I take care of my father who is 93 years old, and if I were to move my shift from 2 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., I would have to send him to a home. This would be extremely heartbreaking for him, and for me as well.”

The laborers and custodians will continue to appeal for the dismissal of the new shift that could determine more than just a change in their alarm clocks. A petition has been formulated to rally the support of professors and other faculty and staff members, and the custodians hope to gather as many signatures as possible to present to Marc Fisher, UCSB’s Senior Associate Vice Chancellor.

For more information, email Vanessa Guzman, the leading organizer, at vguzman@a.fscme3299.org

UPDATE: As of Tuesday, August 29th, according to Ismael Illescas, an intern with the worker’s union, the petition was a succes and the shifts will not be changing.