Diva Moyet: “Because of the raises I’ve gotten in my union contract, I can pay my bills and buy food on one salary. I don’t work a second job anymore.”
“When I first started, the wages were lower, and I used to cut hair at home to make up for my low salary. Over time, as my wages have gone up, that’s shifted and I don’t have to depend on the hair cut money to make ends meet anymore. I can pay my bills and buy food on one salary, instead of needing a second job.” Diva has seen her pay go up by more than $11,300 per year since 2006.
Diva is active with her union, as a bargaining committee member, a union steward, and a member of the committee that writes the member newsletter. The newsletter includes articles about current campaigns, member benefits, and other issues affecting working people. Diva is passionate about educating her co-workers, and also wants to write historical articles, like one about the security officers that gave their lives on 9/11.
Why is she so passionate about building her union? The only thing Diva likes better than seeing the difference in her life, is knowing that everyone else is moving up along with her. “We all look forward to every January, because we all know we’re going to get an increase, and we know we’re all going to get the same increase.
“It’s unification. I work for Universal Protection Service, but our contract includes eight companies in the Bay Area. It’s remarkable to be able to apply with another company in your city and get the same wage increases and the same benefits.”
Working one stable job for eight years has given Diva time to get good at it. As the security officer assigned to the loading dock of her downtown San Francisco office building, Diva explains that she really has two jobs: logging people in for deliveries, and controlling traffic and parking near the dock.
Experienced officers like Diva make everything run smoothly. “Because I’ve been doing it for a long time, I can log up to seven people at one time.” She’s good at making the city run smoothly, too. “A little while ago, a guy stopped his car in the middle of the street, because he knew I would run down there right away. He wanted to show me that the traffic was backed up farther down the block, where there was no security officer to work the dock. ‘It’s not like that at your building,’ he said.”
While other people notice the difference her work makes, Diva notices the difference she’s made in the security industry by working to build a strong union.
“I did part-time security work before. It was non-union and it was awful. We were on call, and we didn’t get many calls for work if we weren’t the same ethnicity as the owners. Sometimes they’d call me, I’d get to the site, and there was no shift. It was only minimum wage, and you didn’t get reimbursed for your transportation if there was no work.”
Now she wants to support security officers in other cities. Diva has advice for officers seeking to form a union: “When there’s nothing there, and you’re going to be there to bargain the first contract, and see it grow, it’s exciting. But it’s also challenging. It’s an endurance thing. You have to keep going, and you really have to believe. Don’t get discouraged.”