Tjien Johnston is a Supervising Family Service Specialist II at the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) at the Mercer North Local Office. Learn more about her work below.
What do you do? How long have you worked there?[TJ] – I am currently an intake supervisor for the local office. I supervise five investigative workers. I have been with the Division for 25.5 years and have been in the supervisory capacity since 2006. I have been in the MNLO since 2012.
How does being in a union bring coworkers together?[TJ] – Being in a union promotes solidarity and cohesiveness. As union members, we have the same mind and can advocate for what is fair and just. If there is division, there is no commitment or trust.
Why do you think it’s important to be in a union?[TJ] – It’s important to be in a union to have solidarity and personal protection as well as job security. Being in a union ensures that workers have a say in the decisions being made.
What do you think the role of a shop steward is?[TJ] – The role of the shop steward is to be a voice for the union in the workplace. The shop steward is the first point of contact when an employee has a work-related issue or concern. A shop steward also closely watches and enforces collective bargaining agreements and contracts.
What have you learned from your time as a Shop Steward?[TJ] – During my time as a steward, I have learned to listen to understand and not just to respond. It is important to be able to effectively communicate when decisions are made as well as explaining what those decisions mean. I have also learned that it is important to pick your battles.
Do you have any tips for members considering becoming a Shop Steward?[TJ] – If becoming a shop steward, it is imperative that one has an open mind, can be stern and have a firm understanding for promoting solidarity and unity.