As a child I truly was the epitome of a tom boy. I played softball, shot marbles in the dirt, learned martial arts and was into weight lifting. I was a strong, fit child and my mother would chastise me often because I would come home from school having had many fights defending my school friends from bullies. I would always defend those who could not defend themselves. Even as a child, I fought injustice and those who took advantage of anyone who was unable to defend themselves.
I was first introduced to unionism by my father who worked for a major ink production company. He performed back breaking work and was a trade unionist. He believed in the value of a union to working families' lives and past that believe on to me. My first real job was working at Lakeside Veterans Administration Hospital. SEIU Local 73 was the union there for paraprofessionals, technicians and building and service workers.
I joined the union even though it was an open shop and paying union dues was not required. I worked for the VA for many years before I was asked to run for Union Steward in 1990. I won that election, and was soon in the cross hairs with management because I fought hard for my fellow co-workers. It was not long before I was elected as Chief Steward, and in 1996 I was hired as a Union Representative by SEIU Local 73 to represent the VA hospitals and administrative bargaining unit among others. I also have been a Union Representative with SEIU Locals 73HC and 20.
As a Union Representative, I've worked with many talented people over the years. I was extremely fortunate in my early years as a Union Representative to have been provided with extensive training to prepare me for contract negotiations and complex representational work (arbitration, etc.) I currently have over 25 years working with SEIU and our members. I truly believe in the work that Unions give to our members. Just as I fought injustice as a child, I have continued those fights as an adult and the Union has given me that opportunity to continue to fight for what I believe in: that all workers should be treated fairly and with dignity! I will continue to work hard for you as a Vice-President if given the opportunity.