New Jersey Security Officer Speaks Out About “Clopening” Shifts
With responsibility for the safety of students, professors, and the community at large, security officers at Hudson County Community College should be the last people whose employer would short them of sleep between shifts.
But the New York Times reported that security officer Ramsey Montanez, who protects Hudson County Community College in New Jersey, is facing that very problem.
Montanez struggles to stay alert on the mornings he returns to his post at 7 a.m., after wrapping up a 16-hour double shift at 11 p.m. the night before. “It weighs on you physically and emotionally,” he says. This phenomenon, where an employer schedules someone to work an early morning shift right after finishing late at night, which is becoming common across a number of industries, has its own name now: “clopening.”
Clopening is one of many scheduling problems that make it difficult for security officers to thrive on and off the job. Schedules without enough hours to make ends meet, sometimes coupled with requests to work extra shifts on short notice, make it very difficult for security officers to manage their finances, make decisions about whether or not to go back to school, or to commit to a second job.
“I was studying computer science, but didn’t enroll this term,” Ramsey says. “I just didn’t know if I would get enough hours to pay tuition and still support my 10-year-old niece, Jayleen, who I’m raising.”
Responsible security contractors can stabilize the work and provide opportunities for their security officers to excel.
New Jersey security officers are the latest in the line of workers improving their workplaces and the quality of life in their communities. They are organizing with SEIU 32BJ to give them more control over their schedules—and their lives.
Read more on “clopening” from the New York Times.