Tell Your Story

Which union are you a member of, and what kind of work do you do? Why is your union important to you? Have you worked in a state with anti-union laws? If so, what differences do you see here in Oregon?

Stories from Oregonians

My union gave me a voice in establishing how my workplace rules and schedules were formed. It helped develop a good labor / management relationship.

Bev Swanson, OHSU Doernbecher Administrative Asst. (Retired),
AFSCME Local 328

Our union is our voice, united to demand equality and to protect diversity.

Susana Betancourt, Business Process Consultant for Multnomah County,
AFSCME Local 88

My union provided me with job security, a good worksite and a pension which helps my day-to-day life as a retiree.

James Gerhardt, Multnomah County Parole & Probation (Retired),
AFSCME Local 88

A strong middle class is better for everyone. We can't just have the top one or two percent raking in all the money while the middle class is struggling.

Jaime Rodriguez, Career Specialist,
PCCFFAP 2277, AFT-OR

It was a real boon to my career, to my personal knowledge of the trade, to be able to take these classes that were organized through the union.

Sam Pointer, Driver,
Teamsters Local 305

Without unions through the years we would not have the positions we have today, we wouldn't have sick leave, we wouldn't have decent pay, we wouldn't have vacation.

Thomas Newsome, Library Clerk,
AFSCME Local 88

Unions allow workers to have a voice, and equally important, they allow voices to discuss, debate and create a healthier, more productive, safer environment that provides better patient outcomes.

Jesse Kennedy, Registered Nurse,
Oregon Nurses Association

As an autoworker, my local committee man saved me from a solvent bath and serious damage to my health.

Fernando Gapasin, Retired,
United Auto Workers 1981

Unions are the bedrock on which the quality of life, diginity and respect of all workers in the country rests. Without unions, the compensation and welfare of workers plumments under the capricious and avaricious control of the 1%

Rob Sisk, President,
SEIU 503, OPEU

Having a union makes the employer recognize and address our safety concerns, a nurses' main interest is in the safety of their patients as well as their own workplace safety.

Kevyn Paul, Emergency Dept. Charge Nurse,
Oregon Nurses Association

All workers should not have to worry about how to pay for their healthcare. Because of my union I could go to the dentist after years of not having dental insurance.

Catie Theisen, Communications Liaison,
Teamsters Local 223

Unions are the last line of defense! Labor is the only entity keeping corporate greed at bay.

Joe Ybarguen, Storeroom Clerk,
United Steel Workers 8378

I'm happy that my union is working for retail workers like me.

Tim Finn, Deli Clerk,
UFCW Local 555

The union has backed me several times on situations that were not fair.

Evelyn Pointer, Retired,
OEA

What being a union member means to me is the freedom and security to know I have a voice in the work place. It gives me the ability to take care of my family and help others succeed and have better lives.

Larry Bickett, Trustee,
IAM Local Lodge 1005

Even though the (union's) business manager was overloaded with all kinds of responsiblities — and it would have been very easy to let me go — he dropped the rest of his agenda for the day and committeed his time to helping me.

Mark Crenshaw, Electrician,
IBEW Local 280

Unions are the foundation to fairness in the workplace. Without unions, abuses will fill the vacuum.

Paul Rodriquez, Letter Carrier,
NALC

I have worked in non-union shops before and it is no place I want to be. You didn't have vacation time, you paid a lot for health insurance, you didn't have a retirement, you didn't have a pension — you are just going to work until the day you die.

Matthew Sweeney, Mechanic,
IAM Local Lodge 1005

The union has given to our local the right to bargain for a contract with four hour minimum pay, just cause, decent wages, and kept us working instead of replacing us with volunteers.

Bambi Ooley, Elevator Operator,
IATSE Local B20