Tell us about your work. What do you do and how long have you worked there?
[KD] — I am a Department of Labor Claims Examiner for Unemployment Insurance. I interview claimants/clients filing for unemployment benefits. I started as an Intermittent Labor Service Worker (ILSW) in 1997 and became a Claims Examiner in 2001.
Has being in a union helped work through challenges at work?
[KD] — Yes. Being in the union gives one collective power.
Why do you think being in a union is good for working people?
[KD] — Being in a union is good for working people because it equals the playing field.
What have you learned from your time as a Shop Steward?
[KD] — A lot. It’s not just a place where the employer dictates tasks. Those tasks should be in your job description. This is not the military. Transparency is key with the job along with excellent communication with the members and management.
Do you have any tips for members considering becoming a Shop Steward?
[KD] — Do it. Get involved, be a leader of your shop. Fight for settled rights that are always trying to be clawed back away from the members. Learn your rights, teach others their rights.
What is your method for trying to go through a grievance issue?
[KD] — I’ve not had many grievances in my shop but many concerns. I speak with the members to get their input and gather as much knowledge to attempt to cover all sides of the issue. When management passes the buck, we fight.
Why are public employees important in our communities?
[KD] — Public employees are our friends, neighbors, and family. The State of New Jersey could not run without public employees. We give back to the community. In Solidarity!