Jesse Ceniceros, President
Jesse Ceniceros spent 20 years as a Hydraulic and Development Mechanic for Lockheed Martin. He is a member of the Machinists and Aerospace Union. In 1999 he injured his left knee and underwent surgery for a torn meniscus. Since then, he has been caught up in an endless process of denial of proper treatment and medications, forcing him to go to court to get treatment approved. Jesse believes that prompt medical attention could have prevented his physical deterioration because of the prolonged period of time favoring the left knee that led to problems with the other knee, his hips and his back.
Frustrated with the Schwarzenegger workers’ compensation reforms, he began to personally contact his elected representatives and the governor’s office. He then heard about VotersInjuredatWork.org and decided to become involved.
“Until now, injured workers stood alone. This organization stands to help the injured workers. I personally know the financial and personal hardships felt by the injured worker and also on the families of the injured worker.” said Jesse. “That is what motivates me and I hope it will motivate the injured workers and their families. There is no stronger voice than the voting voice, because together we can make a difference.”
Dolores Gallegos, Treasurer
Hanford City Council Member Dolores Gallegos was elected in 1998 and continues to serve her community in this position. She was diagnosed with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome while working as a computer teacher for Proteus, Inc.
When seen by a workers’ compensation doctor, she was initially advised that her condition was so severe that she needed surgery. A couple of days later, the same doctor reversed his opinion and said that she did not have carpal tunnel after all. Her workers’ compensation claims was denied, proving that even elected officials have trouble accessing the system. After consulting with her primary care physician through her group health policy, she was referred to an “orthopedic specialist” who immediately informed her that she needed surgery right away. This “specialist” was the very same doctor that had earlier told her that she didn’t have a problem!
Two months after the surgery, she was fired from Proteus, Inc. “I had to fight for workers’ compensation benefits to which the courts determined I was entitled, but not soon enough to avoid the financial hardships that I did not deserve.” says Dolores.
Glad that her case is now over, she is working successfully on a grant project aimed at providing education and resource information to persons with diabetes in Kings County. Being a board member and officer of VotersInjuredatWork.org is a natural extension of her impressive community service record.
Marygrace is a Social Worker for the County of San Bernardino. She is a member of San Bernardino Public Employees Union and was a steward, also serving on the Negotiating Committee, bringing about the first ever special increment raise for Social Workers in the history of the County.
During a routine monthly visit in March 2000 to one of the children on her case load, she was attacked by one of the children. She received physical therapy for some time, but still had pain. About 5 months later, while working in the office, a filing cabinet fell on her and hurt her back, neck and shoulder. She was referred for surgery, but there were delays. She had significant problems after her surgeries as well.
Then, the County sent her for an “independent medical evaluation” which was not supposed to happen. She told her attorney that she noticed this term and thought that this doctor was supposed to be a Qualified Medical Examiner (QME) and wondered why they were not sending her to someone who was a QME. Upon further research, she found that the doctor the County sent her to had had his license revoked in New York and in Colorado and he had been placed on probation for 7 years in California. After reading the report, she was even more incensed that she had been sent to this doctor because although his specialty was orthopedics, she found that he had commented on many items not related to her case and other specialties that were well out of his area of expertise. However, despite the illegal report by this doctor, the County stopped payment to Marygrace. She had to declare bankruptcy and eventually had to give up her apartment and move in with a friend.
She still experiences pain on a daily basis. However, she has recently found a doctor who is really helping her a lot. It is a slow process to get well when you have physical injuries that are not treated. In fact, Marygrace has been denied any physical treatment for her symptoms for the last 3 years.
Marygrace is currently on disability, but was denied a medical retirement by the County mainly because of that erroneous report. Since the County does not pay into Social Security, she is receiving a small amount from them, instead of what she was owed from her work with the County. She is still fighting to get treatment with WC though and hopes someday to be able to go back to work.
When asked why she wanted to work with VIAW, she said “So many people need information about how things have changed in our system. VIAW gives that information to them. Additionally, VIAW is working to make changes in the legislature, which is so very badly needed. I hope I can reach out to others who need our help.”
Marygrace has a Bachelor’s Degree from Loma Linda University in Counseling and an LVN from Riverside Community College, as well as a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Loma Linda University.
Ed Riddle spent over 25 years working for Lockheed Martin. He served several years as a Union Steward for the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers.
Ed suffered chemical and metal contamination injuries to his hands in addition to a career ending back injury in 2000. Ed was denied back surgery in lieu for physical therapy and several pain relieving procedures. Finally having back surgery in 2002, Ed was disability retired.
Ed heard about VIAW in 2008 and joined. He wants to help others who are going through similar hardships.