by Nicole Meck, West Campus Unit Steward
I knew our West Campus had only one union steward so I asked to become a unit steward. I was lucky that this prompted five of my coworkers to also become unit stewards so we are on our way to making the west campus AFSCME strong.
I like to accomplish things and feel as though I make a difference. I’m excited by all the opportunities available to me through our union. I feel there are many ways to do this with my union work. I am hoping to be an asset to my coworkers and to our local 328 Executive Board. I want to continue to learn all I can from our many talented staff and board members.
I work out on OHSU’s west campus at the Oregon National Primate Research Center as a Laboratory Animal Technician 2. I perform husbandry for our breeding colony. We have a large campus full of wonderful employees who are all dedicated to the animals we are entrusted with caring for daily.
I was getting very frustrated with our national political climate and wanting to do something but I wasn’t sure what I could do to make a difference. I was tired of clicking a button to show support or marching for this cause or that reason. I wanted to just do more. I knew I had to find some way to feel more involved.
This is the first job I’ve had where I got to be part of a union.
I began to spend time in the evenings looking over our various AFSCME web sites including Local 328, Council 75, and AFSCME national web pages. I found many interesting things on these pages. I was able to read the local 328 news and happenings. On our council page I found information about PERS, legislation and saw all the committees we have the ability to be on as union members.
I even used our AFSCME Auto Advantage when buying my new car. I was excited that all this was available to me by just being a union member. When coworkers began asking me questions about our contract, I asked to become a unit steward. This prompted five of my coworkers to also become unit stewards at the same time. Our campus had only one steward at the time we were now on our way to building a AFSCME strong group at our west campus.
Since becoming a unit steward I have been to be invited participate in the AFSCME Emerging Leaders program. I have had a great time learning more about what being a union leader and activist can accomplish.
AFSCME invited me to participate in the lost time program. During this time I have been working on converting fair share payers to dues members on the West Campus and am proud to say, with the help of the other unit stewards, we have converted many coworkers. I have also been working on getting AFSCME Strong bulletin boards up in all the work areas so all our members can be kept up to date on the latest news and happenings from AFSCME and our Local.
I had the wonderful experience of getting to work with the AFSCME International team during AFSCME strong week. I learned so much from this group of talented people. We knocked on doors to talk to Multnomah county workers about their upcoming contract vote and to make sure they were current dues members so they would get to vote for their contract.
I have also had the pleasure of working with many of the Council 75 and Local 328 staff and have been learning much about our union structure and work that AFSCME does to continue keep us strong. I’m very excited to have been voted to the local 328 board as At-Large Position 15 and I’m looking forward to learning how I can best serve my west campus coworkers in this position.
I’m excited for the start of our contract negotiations and looking forward to watching how the process goes and getting my brothers and sisters from the west campus excited about and hopefully included in this exciting process.