What EAA Did For Me: Ivan Rodriguez
My name is Ivan Rodriguez,
I am blessed and honored to work for Los Angeles City Department of Rec. & Parks Citywide Aquatics as an Aquatic Facility Manager (MOU 20).
In the summer of 2016, I decided to go back to school to complete a Bachelor of Science degree I had to put on hold many years ago. After much research I decided to attend the University Of La Verne as it offered a hybrid program designed for full-time working adults and a tuition discount to City employees. They use a number of locations throughout the Southland to teach their classes, including City-owned properties such as Elysian Park LAFD Academy, Los Angeles Police Administrative Building and Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
I crafted and presented a detailed two-year educational plan to my immediate supervisor. The plan had one small glitch that required me to be released from work one hour early on Wednesday afternoons. My immediate supervisor verbally approved my request and encouraged me to pursue my education. And so I began my first class in summer of 2016.
During this time, Rec and Parks was facing numerous grievances for a variety of issues. I was part of at least two of the grievances handled by the Engineers Architects Association (EAA). As the grievances developed into arbitrations, upper management became aware of my particular school accommodation and arbitrarily shifted posture when my accommodation was denied when I submitted my work schedule reflecting the one hour deviation to accommodate my second session.
I appealed my case to supervision within my chain of command and my request was reinstated. However, when I submitted my schedule for my third session, I was told this would not be granted. Again, I followed the chain of command and submitted multiple appeals all the way to the top. There was no response.
I contacted EAA who, as previously mentioned, were handling several pending arbitrations for my unit and requested their assistance. EAA made numerous unsuccessful attempts to resolve my school issue. In the meantime, I went back to my assigned schedule without accommodation forcing me to arrive late to class. Fortunately, the instructor was flexible enough to allow me to make up missed work.
EAA included my school numerous other unfair labor practice charges against Rec. and Parks and submitted these to the Employee Relations Board (ERB). After lengthy hearings through the ERB, my school issue was affirmed by the hearing officer’s ruling. The findings became an order from the ERB to Rec. and Parks as follows:
5. Cease and desist from interfering with or preventing Ivan Rodriguez from attending classes to complete his educational program at La Verne University;…
Because of these results, others are now able to pursue an education.
EAA pursued and prevailed on several arbitrations and has worked intensively against unfair labor practices within Rec. and Parks. EAA was there for us when the department was repeatedly violating our MOU agreement. Without EAA’s support I could not have earned my Bachelor of Science degree. I am grateful to EAA who are always ready and willing to help us.
I have since signed up to be a Steward and I am looking forward to supporting my colleagues to the best of my abilities. Thank you so much EAA.