"Well, we get into our shop at seven a.m., and then we, uh, kind of figure out what we got goin’ on for the day. If we’ve completed a project, then we’ll kinda look at a new project, but at the school district, um, we do everything. I mean we do fine finish work. Uh, we go out in the field. We do graffiti removal, so there’s … Um, anything can happen. Graffiti always, um, takes precedence over, um, whatever we’re doing, so if a school was vandalized, and somebody put a swastika up or some profane graffiti up, we kind of stop what we’re doin’ and go take care of it.
And then, uh, and then, you know, like I said, depending on what you got goin’ on, um, t- like, for instance, a day like today, we’re s-, starting a new project where there was a roof leak, and, um, you had a bunch of water making the paint sag on this walkway. So we’re gonna have to shut it down and prep it and scrape all that and, uh, get it ready for to recoat it, but as we’re doing that, we’re coordinating with our roofer to make sure that that leak is sealed."
-Tony Pichardo, painter, Mount Diablo Unified School District
"I was going to school for anthropology, and I always wanted to work with primates. Um, I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to do it, if it was field work or captive primates, and when I was going to school at San Francisco State, I started volunteering at the zoo. And then I was also working in the guest services department, and I was able to, um, make my volunteer work work towards a career in the zoo field and eventually ended up working with primates, which were my passion.
Uh, in the morning, we meet with our curator and discuss anything that’s going on, any changes in health or something that’s gonna be happening that day, and then we go check on all our animals first thing. Everybody gets fed their breakfast, and then we start cleaning. Um, lots of cleaning. Cleaning of yards, cleaning of night quarters, and then with primates, they get fed throughout the day, so they get multiple feedings, and then there’s more cleaning. And then we bring them in for their dinner and nighttime setup so that they’re in the building for the night.
Special moments? Um, just when you kind of connect with an animal like they understand what you're asking them to do, or they just show the recognition. It’s, um, really special with the chimpanzees because they’ll seek comfort from you sometimes. Like if they’re upset about something or something scares them, they’ll definitely come to you and seek reassurance and comfort, and it makes you feel like you're part of the family with them, and it just is a very special feeling."
-Dayna Sherwood, San Francisco Zoo, primate section
"Okay so our our treatment plant is is pretty unique and um, actually there's none in Northern California like it or there's none in California like it and uh, there's only a few in the nation and the way we we treat uh the waste water and um, we call ourselves Clara Creek Recycle, you know, recycling plant because we actually recycle our water, a portion of it.
The water department has set up um, you know pumps here and wells and they pump our effluent up into their tanks and then we use it to water like the golf course and the promenade and all that and um because we discharge into a creek that's dry in the Summertime and just has only basically run up in the Winter, it's like the most extreme, you know, kind of receiving water you can, you know discharge into it. Most places discharge into the ocean or at least into a big river and uh, so that they have the ability to dilute a lot of it but 90% of what's in there unless it's storming is coming from us. And in the Summer it's 100% so you know our um, uh, the quality that we have to put out is is um, way above most people, you know we have real stringent um, controls here.
and uh, for me, I just really am proud to work here and like working here be-because of that, you know, I'm actually a surfer and where we discharge into this creek it goes less than a quarter mile and it dumps right on the beach at Rockaway Beach, one of my favorite surf spots where I'm basically surfing out on my effluent all the time, you know and I feel very proud that you know, I know what's going into the water and I know that our water is almost drinking water quality. You know, so it's uh, and we don't we don't hardly ever violate. You go to most treatment plants because you know it's pretty easy to violate because we have such stringent controls on us but uh, it's very rare that we violate. I mean we go years sometimes without violation and most plants are violating like monthly, you know, they can't meet the requirements and what they got to put out has way more um flexibility than what we got, you know. Our stuff is, like I said, it's gotta be really really clean."
-Ray Wolfegram, lead operator, Calera Creek Water Recycling
"Yes. As a young girl, I used to ride a big bus to school, and living in the big city, streets were narrow, (laughs) so I couldn't understand how they ... you know, the drivers did that. So, I, I was ... I don't know. I feared it and I wanted to accomplish it, so I did. I, I don't know how pe- ... I have a fear of that, too. I don't know how people (laughs) drive buses. I couldn't drive anything that people can stand up in. Like, that (laughs) ..."
"Training was um, for six weeks, eight hours a day. Uh, classroom and behind the wheel. Um, when I finished my training and got, finally got my certificate, um, I looked back at all my classwork and there was 1100 questions, that I had to answer. That's how many questions we had. So, it was ... It was very hard. Um. At the end, I feel like my brains were burned."
"I get up at 4:00 AM, and I start getting ready for work. I leave my house by 5:00, and I get to work, about 5:20, 5:15, depending on how fast I leave my house. Uh, and my work starts at 5:30. Check out my bus. I am, I leave the yard by 6:00 AM, and I pick up about 11 kids. Drop them off at their high school and pick up three more, but uh, on a typical day I'm just ... I'm really, really busy all day. From 5:30 AM 'til, like this week, I don't finish 'til 7:30 PM."
"They, like, some of them says, "I love you! Have a good day!" You know. Those are the best, or they come to you and um ... I mean, you have good days and you have bad days, but um, they ... They come to you and they, um, respect the fact that you ... They can, um, express themself. Yeah. That's the nice thing, that you know, you're like a mentor to these kids."
-Jeanette Benitez, a school bus driver, Mount Diablo Unified School District
"How did I get into it? Well, uh, my dad was a machinist and my mom was kind of like a gardener so, um, I kind of do both (chuckles). Um, in, you know, they were both kind of from the country but my mom was more of a nurturer and, um ... I don't know, it's interesting, I remember I was in kindergarten and they used to have these milk cartons that were like, uh, paper or whatever. But they had a seed, a pumpkin seed, and they put it in and, you know, they put it outside or whatever and then it grew and, and then they said t- well take it home and plant it, and I took it home and I planted it in our garden and I went out there one day and it was dead and I don't know exactly wh- ... But I remember I was like in tears and I guess maybe that was it, to be my, my life long quest but, um ... One thing, one thing when you do gardening you actually cause the demise of a lot of plants as well as make a lot of other ones, uh, thrive. So it's, it's interesting, you kind of do both (chuckles) and it's kind of part of the, um, the routine.
Of course, you want to make the right plants thrive but, um ... My specialty is, um, is, uh, plants with form like trees and I, I, I like to ... I think of everything like a tree, and even if it's a little bush, I kind of make it look essentially like a tree. So I go to the bottom of the plant and then I kind of work up and I, I try to make it have kind of a natural shape of, of some sort and then kind of fill out at the top and, um, so, I'm always looking for kind of internal form and, uh, cleanliness, and air, and light moving inside of the plant, and like we were mentioning a minute ago about even the, the, the, the hedges here. By opening them up they were so dark and, and completely filled with, um, you know, you know, just kind of build up, uh ... that opening them up you can see through them, light's coming in, um, and the birds can move in there and next and, and just kind of move, kind of utilize that, that zone and it's actually bringing more, more, uh, wildlife of that type into this, this garden.
And I've done that before in other gardens and I've, uh, I realized it, it works so, um, really to, to kind of clean things up from the ground up and, and have that natural form the plants look and, and I'm sure they, they enjoy life more because there's, um, you know, their, their just, um, cleaner and, um, there's no rot and there's no dead things hanging on them and, um, and then the wildlife can move in there and kind of utilize that, um, that space and, um ... That's part of the fun of it for me is, is all the kind of the secondary effects that, that, um, kind of move in after, after I leave and, um, it's, it's, it's one of the best parts of the, of the kind of the payoff as far as I'm concerned."
-Michael Kyelberg, a Pier 39 landscaper
Teamster: Mahalia LeClerc
Worksite: Edgewood Center for Children and Families
Job title: Therapeutic Behavior Services Coach
What that means: "TBS Coaches are a short-term intensive service. We work with children who are at risk of losing their current home placement, usually because they have behavioral problems that are making it so they can't continue to live where they're at. For example, if they're in the home, their family feels that they're having a hard time keeping them safe; whether they might have some violent behaviors or sometimes even self-harming behaviors. I work with the caregivers to try and stabilize that child's placement. I provide behavioral coaching to the kids and then also to the parents as well, trying to provide psycho-education around the kid's mental health needs, helping the parents manage the behaviors so that the they can continue to stay at their current placement.
A lot of these kids are hilarious and awesome. I don't think I've met one kid that doesn't have something really likable about them and unique about them. I enjoy all those aspects."
Years on the job: 3
On being a Teamster: "
"My day to day life is, is, as a lead I do all the scheduling of lunches and breaks. Um. return cars. Customers who come back to return calls. Um, we handle all their customer issues. I direct them in the right way to go. You know, any, answer any questions they have. And make sure that they're completely satisfied with their rental.
Uh, I approach the customer with a smile. Eye contact. Um, Greet them. Ask our questions that the company requires us to do. Um, make sure that um, they had great customer service throughout their rental. And hopefully they come back. Thank them for their business and we move on to the next customer.
The best part of my job is, my confidence in helping people. You know? So, especially when people are traveling. They, especially in San Francisco cause this is our main hub here. So we get thousands of customers weekly. Likely daily, basically. So it's just kind of directing people, making sure, you know, they're taken care of.
Um, yes. As a shop steward, um, it's a thankless job. It's a very thankless job. But our union has-- 856 has our backs. They will help you with anything that needs to be done. I've learned a lot since I've been a shop steward for so long. And it helped me in a way, as I can deal with management a lot better. I've earned the respect of management. And um, at first for many years I was the only shop steward up here. And I've gone through negotiations and decerts cause, you know, our members, you know, kinda bad mouth. They were union members, but they were like, exp-- they expect the union to like, well why isn't the union doing this? We are the union. You know. Even though you don't like someone, we're all in the same boat. You know what I mean? So even people you may not like you, or you don't like them, we still have to respect that we're all for the greater cause. You know what I mean? It helps everybody."
-Herbert Travit, National Alamo at Enterprise Holdings, San Francisco International Airport