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Member Profile: Lucy Cisneros

Lucy Cisneros played tennis in her freshman year at Bakersfield college and fell in love with the sport.

But since she began working at Petaluma Valley Hospital two years ago, the ultrasound tech hasn’t had a chance to pick up the racket.

“My work schedule is too busy,” she explained.

The problem is understaffing in her department that forces her to work weekends and extra shifts.

Making matters worse, management often ignored protections in the union contract that protected workers from having to work back-to-back weekends.

Rather than accept the status quo, Lucy became a steward to protect her rights and defend her colleagues.

“I don’t want to see management trying to take advantage of employees,” she said. “The fact is, they make these big decisions and don’t take into account how it affects us. The hospital should want us to have a healthier work-life balance.”

Lucy has still been working consecutive weekends because the hospital has not replaced a full-time employee who has been on leave since March.

But, she won’t put up with it anymore.

In early December, Lucy emailed her manager requesting to have the Christmas weekend off and citing the article and page in the contract specifying time off.

Her request was denied. Management and the HR department claimed workers like Lucy can be scheduled to work every weekend since they are “varied” employees who work at a hospital that is open on the weekends.

Lucy filed a grievance and met with HR to discuss getting a minimum of every other weekend off, and “we were successful in that,” she happily reported.

That victory serves to keep reminding her colleagues that with a union and a collective bargaining agreement, they should not be afraid to assert their rights.

“If I see something wrong,” she said, “I speak up.”

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