Position: Medical Assistant
Department: Smilow Cancer Center
My Local 34 Story
I always stand up for myself and demand respect no matter the situation; it’s who I’ve always been. This attitude has helped me all through my life but it has been especially helpful as a leader in Local 34. When we went out on strike, I went out because it was the right thing to do. Striking allowed us to win better pay and respect for all our members.
Later, my steward left my department, leaving me as the one to lead it. As a leader, I have had to fight with management to demand respect. But I have also organized members and pushed them to lead in meetings and actions. Together we have helped build the Local 34 standard while standing up for ourselves in our department.
During our most recent contract negotiations, I was in every policy board and strategy meeting fighting for our contract. Negotiating a contract while working my job was stressful. But these sacrifices were worth it. I knew how the contract would affect me, and so I also knew how it would affect our members. We couldn’t sacrifice our pay and benefits when we depend on this standard and have fought so hard to win it. The pandemic made us realize we had to win new job security protections.
Whenever I meet a new member, I make sure they know about how hard we fought to get to our current standard and to have respect in the workplace. Our members cannot be confused that the University has given this to us. So I tell them to stand up and demand respect just like I do.
Lisa Stevens is a Medical Assistant at the Smilow Cancer Center. She helps cancer patients make it to appointments, takes vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, and glucose readings and makes sure that doctors have the assistance and supplies they need to treat cancer patients.