Tell us about your work. What do you do? How long have you worked there?[AC] — I am a Family Service Specialist II, and I work in intake. I have worked for the Division of Youth and Families at the Department of Children and Families in Bergen South for 15 years. As a Family Service Specialist II, my job is investigating suspected child neglect and ensuring that the child is safe. Additionally, making sure the child or family is getting the proper services at the appropriate time from the appropriate person.
How long have you been a Shop Steward?[AC] — I have been a shop steward for about 6 years.
What have you learned from your time as a Shop Steward?[AC] — I have built work relations and helped with policy understanding and policy transparency.
How do you think unions improve conditions for workers?[AC] — Unions improve wages, lunch breaks, time off, and ensure safety for workers.
Why do you think so many working people are unionizing today?[AC] — I think people are unionizing because of inflation, changes in technology, and they feel their way of life is being threatened.
Do you have any tips for members considering becoming a Shop Steward?[AC] — I’ll use the analogy of a telescope; when looking out of a telescope there is a vast area of things that are unknown in the sky. However, do your research to understand what it is and utilize it to teach someone else. That’s what being a Shop Steward is – utilizing what you learned and teaching it and helping other people.
What do you want to see in this new NJ State Worker Contract?[AC] — NJ State Workers are fighting for a contract that includes better insurance, and wage increases to combat the high cost-of-living and inflation.