Terresita P. Rankins is a CWA Local 1037 Shop Steward and Family Service Specialist at the Department of Children and Families in Plainfield. Ahead of her retirement after serving as a Steward for 17 years, Terresita shares her experience as a committed union member, and the importance of supporting each other.
Tell us about your work. What do you do? How long have you worked there?
[TR] – I started my career at DYFS in 1997 as FSST in the Plainfield Office. As a Family Service Specialist, I assess families in need of services, investigate abuse and neglect allegations, and develop plans to minimize/eliminate risk to children to promote healthier families.
Why do you think being in a union is important for workers?
[TR] – My role as Shop Steward has helped me to appreciate and better understand the need for unions in the workplace. There is strength in numbers. Our union is a force that fights for our jobs, rights, safety, and equal pay in the workplace.
Do you have any tips for members considering becoming a Shop Steward?
[TR] – My suggestion to anyone interested in becoming a Shop Steward is to ask questions to understand the process. You learn valuable skills. It also gives one the ability to get pertinent information firsthand. It requires commitment, dedication, and confidentiality. You also have to be approachable and real. You have to be willing to fight. You inherit a very large supportive family!
What are you looking forward to in your retirement?
[TR] – It has been my honor and pleasure to serve our members and work with so many dedicated, hardworking, and committed people. Thank you for trusting me in this role. I am still writing this chapter, but it will consist of spending time with my family (especially my grandkids), some volunteer work (to be determined) and maybe some international travel.