Although I’ve held my union job as a Medical Assistant at Stroger hospital for nearly six years, I didn’t always want to be an active union member. Like other people, I felt like the union was not communicating well with me and I didn’t see the point of participating. But it was this exact concern that made me realize that there’s no one better to communicate with my co-workers than someone from our own team. Nearly three years ago I decided it was time for me to step up and be the communicator for my coworkers and become a steward. In those three years, I’ve seen Local 73 transform and create many avenues for members to get involved. I’m currently serving as a steward and a Member Political Organizer (MPO) educating members on the political process and enjoying every part of my work.
As an MPO, I’m knocking on members doors and visiting them at their workplaces to first and foremost assure that they are registered to vote. We are also educating members about how our jobs are directly tied to the decisions politicians make. A lot of people lack a direct connection to the political process but I’m happy to be helping people understand just how important it is for them to be engaged.
Serving as a steward and as an MPO has been an empowering experience for me. Not only have I been able to help my coworkers at Stroger Hospital, I’ve also had the opportunity to support Chicago Public Schools members at their rallies, and I’ve been able to have important conversations with UIC workers about the upcoming elections. In all the work that I’ve done serving various members of my union, I’ve learned that many of the issues we face at work and in our communities are very similar. No matter what workplace I visit, the problems have always been the same, it was just a different location. If feels great to make a connection with a new member in a different sector and it feels even better to empower them to be their own leaders and communicators.
At the end of the day, we are all employees who want to be treated better. Every time I have a conversation with someone new I tell them the same thing: come out and get involved. It doesn’t matter if it’s just one meeting or just one task, it will make a difference.