I was hired at Yale University in 1994 after working on and off as a temp for 1 year. I didn’t understand the value of our union until we went on strike in 2003. It was scary—I honestly thought I might lose my job by going out on strike, however, the encouragement I received from the ladies in our union was amazing. Seeing them push against management, supporting each other financially and emotionally during this tough time made me want to do more. I could never have understood it until I went through it myself. After I returned to work it felt like I had climbed a mountain, the accomplishment of winning that contract was amazing!
In 2013 I went on leave on behalf of L34 to support of President Obama’s immigration campaign. I traveled to Washington D.C. to provide administrative support to our UNITE HERE unions across the country supporting the immigrants’ rights campaign. We were supporting the DREAM Act that would help children who were brought to the USA with their families on a path to citizenship. I was present at Capitol Hill multiple times a week, taking notes at hearings on immigration, and helped organize visiting UNITE HERE members from across the country as they arrived in DC to rally for immigration rights. My experience in DC and travels across the country provided me with skills that I carried forward in many other aspects of my life. When I returned to my department, I was no longer timid with reaching out to members and others, encouraging them to do more for themselves and participate in union activities.
As a single mom the opportunity of working at a place that has a great union with great benefits, provided me the ability to raise my children and purchase a home without worry of how to provide for them. Taking part in my union with attending meeting, rallies, workshops, committees, and more has encouraged and gave me skills to excitedly push for and ensure that the gained benefits we fought for will be available for others for a long time to come.