Melissa Nixon

Department: Nursing

Position: Senior Administrative Assistant

Years at Yale: 8

I never expected to be where I am today. I had my first daughter when I was young and I never went to college. But I have built a life with dignity and economic security through fighting for myself, my co-workers, and my union, and I am always prepared for whatever comes my way. Local 34 has had a profound impact on my life to such a degree that my kids always laugh at me because I’m always talking about the union. I didn’t start out as the leader that I have become. It took time for me to see the leadership qualities that others saw in me. I’m grateful that organizers pushed me through difficult situations to develop my leadership. I’m very proud to be working with an organization that is always fighting for our members’ rights.

I have learned that leadership develops through standing up and demanding respect. The first time I acted as a steward during an EPM, I was fighting for an employee who made a small mistake. The manager who called for the meeting was a bully and mean to both staff and faculty. Going into the meeting I was nervous but prepared. I stuck to the facts and held my ground against my member’s boss. Through this experience I won more respect. Members and managers understood that I was professional, prepared, and held my own. Through fights like this I have learned how we all build the power of our union.