In 2003 my relationship with our union changed. Organizers had started talking about how this contract could be transformational for us. My organizer Barbara pushed me to become a steward. I was nervous that people were not going to listen to me but each time I stewarded someone I got better, but I still liked being a behind the scenes person.
In 2015 I had to move far out of my comfort zone. During contract negotiations the university was threatening to transfer 986 clinical workers to the hospital which would eliminate our union status and destroy the security and benefits we fought so hard for. Part of our campaign was canvasing the community and telling them what was happening to the workers at the university. Instead of staying behind the scenes I took my place at center stage. Several times I had to collaborate and do presentations with community leaders letting them know the effect these changes would have had on New Haven. Because of the community pressure Yale backed down and we kept our jobs as university employees.
Our union not only fights for our members, but we fight for and alongside the community. Being from the Hill I see how we are always fighting for everyday working people and how it affects my community. Our push for local hiring has transformed lives in my neighborhood and can transform New Haven. It’s one of the many reasons I am involved and why I push other members to do the same.