I am a Patient Care Associate at Kings County Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Outpatient Clinic.
The clinic handles orthopedic, neurology and neurosurgery. Patients are here for knee replacements or other bone issues; some have epilepsy or migraines, or even trauma from gunshot wounds. They come for post-operative care.
I check patients’ vital signs such as blood pressure, pain scale, and more. I explain follow-up appointments and rehabilitation. Seniors really appreciate my help.
Patients are in pain. Their aggression is not intentional. I try to explain things so they understand what’s required to heal.
I used to work for a dentist. I was the receptionist, the clerk. I did everything.
With no union, when work was slow the doctor just sent me home. I had no regular paycheck, no health insurance, and no pension.
One benefit of union membership is everyone has a job to do. We respect each other – all work has value. I have job stability. The union protects me and fights for me. I’ve learned so much through my union. I understand politics better. I get involved.
As an activist, I help my coworkers. I helped a newer member find out about the union’s $800 tuition reimbursement plan, free online college courses through AFSCME, and scholarships offered by the local, DC 37 and AFSCME.
A coworker came to the clinic for knee replacement, but she didn’t have financial clearance. To not miss her surgery date, I helped her get clearance. It took two hours on the phone. She really appreciated that I helped her, as I would any patient. People are happy when you go that extra mile for them.
I belong to CBTU, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. I volunteer at family shelters during the holiday season when we have toy and coat drives in Brooklyn. I also volunteer with the American Cancer Society at the annual Breast Cancer Walk registration booth in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Breast cancer affects lots of women, and I lost my aunt to cancer, so the cause is close to my heart.
The more I get involved with my union, the more I grow.
I was a Local 420 shop steward for three years, and a CBTU board trustee. I am part of the Next Wave. I learned about the civil rights movement and the sacrifices others made so we could have rights today. It’s eye-opening.
As a Member Activist Team trainee with the union’s Organizing Department, I live to agitate, motivate and help others. I read my union newspaper regularly and share information with anyone who needs it.