Bottom line -- Been working for the State here for almost 6 1/2 years and been treated very poorly (ahem!) on a number of occasions by co-workers, supervisors, and Admin.  Have gritted my teeth, grinned and beared it -- for the most part -- and just shut up and done my job.   But remember I wrote somewhere that the time for being "Mr. Nice Guy" was over?  I MEANT IT.  And last night, I finally filled out my first-ever grievance.  Here's why:

Everyone knew my co-worker would NOT be coming in last night, due to family obligations that COULD NOT be missed/ignored -- and even though this worker had told the V's and VI and put in for the time off WELL in advance --it wasn't  granted and he "did what he had to do" and just did not come in.  It happens.  The 2-10 staff was strung along with promises of being able to leave when the other staff arrived until it was obvious (??!) he was NOT coming in -- at which point the 2-10 staff was told he would be expected to pull an unexpected (to him) 12 hour (2A-to-2P) shift.  OK.  No allowance was apparently made to provide relief/coverage for him when he was expected to leave.

But having looked at the schedule before coming to work last night I informed my spouse that A.) since I had the stay-over star and B.) that I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that at least ONE of the relief staff would NOT be showing up at 6 AM, if at all, and that  C.)  I would have to be working a 12, to not expect seeing me until almost noon.  The staff ("Mr. Never EVER Even Once Has Made It To Work On Time") indeed called in, and at 1:10 in the morning I was informed by the ODS that I would be required to work a -hardly- "unexpected" 12 hours shift.

I asked the ODS if they would have any coverage for the guy that would be soon leaving at 2 A.M. -- was told no, there was no one available and I'd be expected to gut it out on my own.  Why, I asked... if it was expected -I- would have to work BY MYSELF from 2-6 A.M.-- that the 6-2 shift could not ALSO work with 1 person on a side from 6-10 A.M., and I would be able to go home at my scheduled time?  BTW, there were 2 Visiting Staff on the other side of the dorm all last night; we're THAT short handed.

And here's the kicker:  I was told by the ODS that it was "different" on the 10-6 shift because "all the kids were asleep".

Ahhh... Ex-flucking-scuse me, I SHOULD have said...  but DID point out that yes, while all youth AT THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT APPEARED TO BE SLEEPING, all it would take is ONE KID to wake up, start going apeshit, awaken everyone else, get them all fired up (any reason would do; low Conextions scores, you name it) and start tearing up the dorm and possibly ME as well!!

I've seen it happen before, on ANY shift -- things can go from 0-60 in a HEARTBEAT.  I told the ODS that the LAW mandated a 12:1 youth to DIRECT CARE JCO staff ratio -- NOT just during the daylight hours but 12:1... PERIOD.  ODS replied "Well, you have a radio".  I pointed out that while Security staff sometimes might arrive within 30 seconds after a call (assuming I still had the the radio on me and it worked, or, could get to the phone), sometimes it could be 30 MINUTES or more... and that if the kids -- all 16 of them -- wanted to injure or KILL me they'd have PLENTY enough time to do so before help arrived.  The Law is the LAW, and while I don't directly blame the ODS, this ILLEGAL AND DANGEROUS situation has come up time and tme again on the 10-6 shift.  I guess we're simply expendable?

NO.  I'M not expendable.  But I'd had enough bullshit excuses.  The ODS was just doing what the Higher Up's expected of him and I was to be thrown to the lions if need be.  Ohhh, well... that's what grievances are for, I guess.

So I filled one out.  The upshot of the story is that my relief staff arrived only a couple minutes after 6 (!!!) and another staff soon knocked on the door, too -- so in the end, I didn't have to end up working a 12.  But those 4 hours working by myself convinced me that MY life, MY safety, MY well-being wasn't WORTH AS MUCH as the 6-2 staff to the TYC authorities.  That it was "OK" with them to break the law -- which was implemented FOR OUR SAFETY -- when it came to night staff, because we were "different"... while people who work other shifts obviously are "special" somehow. 

Soooo... I haven't sent the grievance to Austin -- yet.  Will give it some thought, talk to co-workers, the ODS, whoever else CARES (if anyone) and see what happens.