My parents always encouraged me to get a city job because of the benefits. Now I know these benefits are because of a union.
I used to work for a department store. I had no protections. After the holidays, store managers called each worker in. I was questioned by security about an incident I had nothing to do with.
That interview was more like an interrogation. I felt pressured with no one to protect me. I’m an honest person, and it felt like a witch hunt, pressing me to give up my coworkers.
I knew this would never happen if I belonged to a union.
When I worked in fast food it was worse. The manager would override our timecards and reduce the hours we worked. I was cheated. She took food out of my children’s mouths. It hurt.
I now work for the Internal Affairs Bureau as a Police Administrative Aide with the New York Police Dept. I am a Local 1549 member. I was hired last October and in my first week I saw the advantages of belonging to a union.
I realize what a job pays means nothing without benefits and a pension. I now have medical and dental coverage for myself and my children, and job security. My paycheck is right and if it’s not, I know my union will make sure it’s correct.
I have rights – Weingarten rights – and I can ask for help and a union rep will be there. I hope to never have another awful situation of being questioned and feeling alone and unprotected. Sometimes you need the moral support and advice the union gives.
We have a new president who actively opposes unions. The next four years will be a challenge. But how is it possible to get rid of unions after they’ve fought for so much?
I look at work conditions in places like China, and other places where there are no unions. Workers struggle for ventilation in factories where smart phones are made. Really? Ventilation? Air?
I see the contrast between us and them. I see their low pay and I am grateful to have a union.
For people who say the union has done nothing for them I say: You have to make the effort and participate – meet the union halfway. It will work for you. Ask yourself: “What have I done to take advantage of all the union offers?”
I plan to use every benefit – like money management seminars, health benefits, and education opportunities my union offers.
Unions work. When you put forth the effort, meet the union halfway, it will work for you. You have to get involved.