Marcela Dinoso is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in Hackensack. She assists people with disabilities who are seeking re-entry into the workforce by connecting them with jobs that meet their needs.
Tell us about your work. What do you do?
[MD] – As a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, I provide vocational counseling for people with various disabilities from learning, physical, mental, substance abuse, as well as deaf and hard of hearing. I assess an individual’s readiness to return to the workforce and find them a viable vocational goal that is suitable for them that is not going to exacerbate their disability.
How long have you been a Shop Steward?
[MD] – I started in 2017.
What kind of issues do you and your coworkers face on the job? How has being in a union helped to work through them?
[MD] – Dealing with issues through management to gain clarification. Constant monitoring of our facility to ensure a safe work environment for our brothers and sisters. Rallying the rank and file to become more involved in union activities. Providing support during the pandemic and utilizing the technology to keep union members up to date every step of the way.
How do you think being in a union improves working conditions for workers?
[MD] – Unions protect our rights, and that’s very important because some jobs that have not been unionized, workers get taken advantage of, and they treat you as disposable. With a union you are being supported, you have job security. We are stronger as a whole.
What have you learned from your time as a Shop Steward?
[MD] – Advocating for our brothers and sisters, letting them know that we are there for them that their fight is our fight. Gathering information and finding all the facts before jumping into any conclusion and making sure that we tell our brothers and sisters that we got each other’s back and give them our full honesty and sincerity.
Do you have any tips or advice for union members who may be considering becoming a Shop Steward?
[MD] – Earn your colleagues’ trust and you will be golden. It’s very rewarding to successfully resolve grievances.