For over 12 years, Daniel Aviña has been working for the same company – working different jobs and making his way up the ladder.
Aviña started as a maquinista—a machine operator—in what is known as el destronque de romana, which is the harvesting of the romaine lettuce.
After doing that for three years, he spent the next couple of years fueling up the machines with diesel gas. For the last seven years, he’s been the crew boss. Being the crew boss comes with a lot of responsibilities including making sure that everyone is following the rules and arrives to work on time. Daniel also checks to make sure workers have everything they need to be safe and proficient at their job.
Among many of Daniel’s responsibilities, being a driver is one of them. He’s been a CalVans volunteer driver for nearly four years.
Before CalVans was introduced to his work site, nearly every individual would drive their own vehicle into already overcrowded fields. This would sometimes cause problems. Although the fields are big, there is very little room for vehicles to move around with ease.
“In a van one can move everywhere,” he says. “It’s easier to move in the fields especially here where one has to be moving…We start here and then we move there, we are moving around three to four times a day. It’s faster in the van. We all move together.”
The riders as well as Daniel enjoy riding in the van. They say it’s beneficial for all of them as well as their employer. The fields aren’t congested with other vehicles when they ride together, especially since they are well equipped by the employer, having everything they need to do their job.
Daniel says the riders like the air conditioner.
“They all ride very comfortably,” he says. They like the van a lot more because it is at no charge to them. Their employer takes advantage of the Federal Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit Program. This program allows an employer to pay the vanpools cost on behalf of the riders as a pre-tax employee benefit up to $255 per month.
With CalVans, the driver and riders do not have to worry about the ride; CalVans together with the employer have made it easy for the workers to focus on the job.