Change Begins With You
My name is Hector Velasquez. I work at the East Valley DPSS office as an eligibility worker. East Valley has a history of disparity among monolingual and bilingual eligibility workers, where bilingual workers have almost twice the cases. We circulated a petition to the workers to get management to distribute cases equitably among bilingual and monolingual medical workers. Management complied and is currently distributing the cases.
How did we do it? We demanded fairness. We delivered a petition demanding equal distribution of cases on behalf of eligibility workers. We are paid the same salaries, but Spanish-speakers were carrying roughly 900 cases on average, whereas monolingual eligibility workers only had 450 because of our high Spanish-speaking population. We are overwhelmed and overloaded, but we can fix the case loads. It is impossible to be on time with the case and manage the caseloads. We want to complete cases efficiently and without error. The workload is too high and we are unsupported.
Then we offered a solution: make case loads even. We suggested that management talk to accounting and ask to hire Spanish-speaking workers instead of monolingual workers.
Our MOU states that 370 cases is the maximum amount for optimum job performance. Bilingual workers have 900 cases. My caseload is three times as high as what our MOU says it should be to do our job effectively. There are reports for every part of the case. It is impossible to do everything required by law. I want to do my job the best I can with the least amount of errors. I don't want 60% effective rate because I'm overwhelmed.
We submitted the petition with 18 signatures and a list of 20 people who had over 900 cases.
And, management made the caseloads equitable. We are still over the MOU, but at least management agreed to make caseloads equitable now for all workers. Caseloads should still be reduced by 200 cases.
If you are looking to create a change at your work site, start with a petition. Outline the problem, offer solutions and demand change. People are afraid of retaliation, but if we get together for a common cause, we can create positive changes at our work sites. It can be accomplished. Change begins with you.