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Shop Steward Spotlight: Lakeya Shipley

Tell us about your work. What do you do? How long have you worked there? 

[LS]— I have worked for DCF for 20 years this September. I work in the clerical administrative unit. My main job is to assist our clients with Medicaid coverage and pay bills for different services provided by our resources through the division. Throughout the years I have taken on a lot of different tasks beside the basic clerical duties, which include liaison duties, assist with distribution of yearly toy drives for the holidays, clerk for resource community meetings, headed trainings and steering committee president for some years.

How long have you been a Shop Steward?  

[LS]— I have been a Shop Steward for over seven years.

What have you learned from your time as a Shop Steward? 

[LS]— As a Shop Steward I have learned more about our rights as employees with the state. I have learned to have more confidence, and to not always be the “yes” employee when I feel something isn’t right at work. Now I feel more empowered to speak up, and out for the rights of me and my fellow sisters and brothers in solidarity!

Why do you think so many working people are unionizing today? 

[LS]— I think times have changed from the past. Social media and television have played a huge part in the change within the world, and human rights is on the rise. People are seeing others joining together for fair rights at the workplace, and they want the same. Whether it’s our fellow Starbuck workers, or the UPS workers, we all want to be treated fairly at the workplace. We are stronger with these avenues to reach many more people for the hopes of change and equality!

Do you have any tips for members considering becoming a Shop Steward? 

[LS]— Get involved! Become knowledgeable and helpful for yourself and your fellow workers. You may be the person that will make that change or convince your fellow workers to strive to be better at work because you and the Union are behind them.

What do you want to see in the NJ State Executive Contract for NJ State Workers that is being negotiated right now? 

[LS]— EQUALITY within the workplace-which leads to DCF’s clerical unit being treated fairly and having telework just like everyone else. Right now, we are not being treated fairly. I would also like to see an increase in steps and a change in raises.