Yasmine, Garcia, Traffic Device Maintainer, Local 1455
A lot of women should know they can move into nontraditional jobs.
I came into the Dept. of Transportation 12 years ago as an Auto Service Worker where I assisted mechanics with inspections, brake jobs and servicing city-owned vehicles. But I needed to earn more money.
A coworker told me about the Traffic Device Maintainers’ exam. I took the test and passed it, was interviewed and got the job.
I really enjoy working a nontraditional job outside an office. In the Sign Shop I cut metal to make street signs. In the field I paint traffic lines, crosswalks and bike lanes, and hang signs around Manhattan.
I always wanted to work with the men — to prove that being a women does not prevent me from doing the same quality job. Women can do this! Too often as women we have to prove ourselves and we don’t get the credit.
I use a rock drill, it’s like a jack hammer, to install signs. Some of my coworkers doubted if I could handle it, but I am proud to say I’ve been doing it for 10 years now. I prove people wrong every day. Gender roles are changing, and it’s time for people to understand that’s a good thing.
I am involved with my local. I attend meetings to know what’s happening. I volunteer as board treasurer and I help others by sharing what I learn at union meetings.
Health benefits are important. I’ve been injured on the job and having health benefits is really a protection. The union is well-known, I see a private doctor who knows the union and recognizes that he will get paid for his services.
Through the union I am earning my bachelor’s degree. Without the union’s help, I would not be able to afford college. Thanks to the union’s tuition reimbursement benefit, I’ve not incurred a lot of college debt.
My job protects and saves lives. We keep traffic moving in Manhattan and keep millions of drivers and pedestrians safe each day. I install life-protecting devices that make sure drivers’ lanes are straight on highways and roads and that signs are visible and secure.
We post ‘Do Not Enter’ signs at entrance ramps, ‘No Parking,’ ‘One Way,’ and other signs, making sure they are positioned and hung correctly so they don’t fall or injure pedestrians or drivers.
I feel a personal responsibility so I m