Fresno DSS workers stand up for safety

After a shooting outside their workplace, (l-r) Veronica Singleton, Mary Mata, Shaundonna Kelso, Carol Neff, and Linda Classen came to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to demand a safe working environment.

When we go to work, we expect a few things. A safe environment is one of them.

So when shots rang out the afternoon of April 4 in front of the DSS office in Fresno County, workers there were alarmed. And then they stepped up and demanded that their employer take the steps necessary to provide a safe working environment.

Six workers took time off to go speak to the Board of Supervisors.

“We are asking that our employer take these matters seriously and protect us,” said Eligibility Worker Carol Neff. “It is vital that we feel safe in our work environment. The job in itself is very demanding and stressful, but to see that no steps are taken to correct the environment is not an indication that we are valued employees.”

Eligibility Workers Bobby Robarge is a U.S. Army veteran, and even he doesn’t feel safe. He was denied the time off to speak to the BOS, but submitted a statement that was read at the meeting.

“A coworker and I crossed the parking lot to have lunch 10 minutes prior to the incident. Five minutes after the incident, we crossed the parking lot again to go back to work, this time filled with police and security vehicles,” Robarge wrote. “Needless to say had we left 10 minutes later or five minutes earlier I might not be here today…I would have left behind a wife and four children, over senseless violence that could have been avoided if more safety precautions were in place.”

The statements worked. That very day, Supervisor Henry Perea came out to the worksite to see and hear for himself. The next day, Supervisor Phil Larson came out to talk to members. And now, the security detail has been increased to four guards, and they’re now equipped with metal detector wands.

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