During the lead-up to the 2003 strike, I joined the E-Board and focused on organizing my department, the School of Forestry. Starting from scratch, we tirelessly engaged with members, forged connections, and built our committee. When the university finally forced us to strike, I saw that over 80% of my department was on the picket line with me. Witnessing so many people standing together in solidarity for our rights was truly incredible. It instilled in me a profound belief in the power of our union.
After winning our contract victory, I had interactions with some colleagues in my department who were not initially supportive of the union. Despite my best efforts to convey the union’s benefits, they remained unmoved. However, years later, one of them found themselves in a difficult situation and sought my assistance. Without hesitation, I stepped in and provided the support they needed. They were relieved to receive help and eventually became a strong supporter of the union. These experiences taught me the true meaning of solidarity—helping others regardless of their past actions. Whether they stood alongside us during challenging battles or disregarded our previous attempts to assist them, no one should be written off. There will come a time when they require support, and I will be there for them.