TEAMSTER: Jeannette benitez
Worksite: Mount Diablo Unified School District
On the job: 16 years
Job title: School Bus Driver
How she got started: "I wanted to conquer my fear of driving a big bus. As a young girl I used to ride a big bus to school, and living in the big city, streets were narrow, so I couldn't understand how the drivers did that. I feared it and wanted to accomplish it, so I did."
On Her Intensive Training: "Training was for six weeks, eight hours a day–classroom and behind the wheel. When I finished my training and finally got my certificate, I looked back at all my classwork and there were 1100 questions that I had to answer. That's how many questions we had, so it was very hard."
Typical Day: "I leave my house by 5 a.m. I leave the yard by 6 a.m. and I pick up about 11 kids, drop them off, and pick up three more. On a typical day I'm really, really busy all day, from 5:30 a.m. 'til, like this week, I don't finish 'til 7:30 p.m."
Community Roots: "I'm a mom of eight. My kids go to school at the District. I actually had five graduate so far from Ygnacio Valley High School. One's getting ready to graduate this year."
Working together: "All of our bus drivers are awesome. We are low in drivers, but with that said, we have to pick up our kids, you know? And whenever they ask us, 'can you get this route' or 'can you do that route' drivers are very receptive to that. If I break down on the road, our drivers will get on the radio and say 'I'm like five minutes away. I'll be there'. They always have your back, no matter what."
On being a Teamster: "What I'm most proud of is that because I'm a shop steward that I can help other people and they can come to me, as like a mom. This morning we finally got our good, good raise. So to see all the happy faces you know, being told that we're finally getting the money that we should have gotten a long time ago–that was a big moment for me today actually."