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Public Employee Press

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Yolette Green, Eligibility Specialist 3, Human Resources Administration


Yolette Green, Eligibility Specialist 3, Human Resources Administration
New York is the city that never sleeps. Around the clock, emergencies need responses. Streets need cleaning. Families need care. Students need well-run schools. Our neighborhoods demand safety. That’s why DC 37 members Never Quit.

When I started working in 1993, we only had two or three computers and had to share them with everybody.

Back then smoking cigarettes was allowed in the office. Now of course, everyone has their own computer at their desk and there’s no smoking allowed.

I start work at 8 a.m. and I’ll see a minimum of 30 people in a day. I finish at 4 p.m.

The people applying for food stamps come from all walks of life. There’s always an incident with clients, at least once a week. People get verbally abusive with us, using profanity. And there’s physical abuse too. That’s not something I’ll ever get used to.

In the Brooklyn office, a client stabbed the security guard three times last week. We have Peace Officers from the Human Resources Administration on my job, but not NYPD Police Officers. The HRA officers can’t arrest anyone and they’re not armed. There’s always something, like clients throwing chairs. It’s scary.

You see more people applying for food stamps during the Christmas holidays. The clients have access to computers here. They can apply online and register themselves. We provide them with that and it’s a service available in six languages. They can apply and get their confirmation number.

People get frustrated sometimes because they don’t have the necessary documentation and they have to go back and get it. The documentation has to be in order.

I’m glad to be able to help people, but I think we can do more.

Sometimes the computer system goes down—sometimes for the whole day. The people who receive disability payments from Social Security come here to the Bronx office, but it’s the Brooklyn office that handles those cases. It’s an inconvenience for those people to travel to Brooklyn on the train from the Bronx.

I’ve been a shop steward since 2008. Our members here know about union meetings, they know about the Personal Service Unit and the Municipal Employees Legal Services. They read our union newspaper and we hand out those little cards with the website address on them. So they know what’s going on.