This past Labor Day, SEIU Local 284 member Linda Palmer from Sartell wrote a great piece that ran in the St. Cloud Times about the power we have when we come together in our union. Thanks for sharing your story, Linda!
For over 13 years I’ve worked as a transportation paraprofessional in the Sauk Rapids-Rice school district., picking up students with disabilities and getting them to school. My job is very rewarding and I know the students and parents appreciate that the students get to school safely.
The reason I’ve been able to stay at this job for so long is that I have a union, SEIU Local 284, that fights to make sure school employees have fair pay, decent benefits and protections on the job.
This Labor Day, I hope we can spend a moment thinking about all of the good unions have done for families across our state and country. The students I get to know on a personal level know that I will be there for them. It is nice for me to know that I have someone to support me.
Through my union, I’ve benefited from things like increased paid time off, better wages and paid holidays. Those things help make a job I love something that sustains me. There are too many jobs right now where people work hard — really hard — but get paid next to nothing, with no benefits or job security. This is what has happened because of the attacks on unions. People don’t have that security that they deserve.
Without a union, I can’t imagine how I would stand up for what is fair. Without the gains we’ve won through our union, would I have been able to help my daughter go to college? What about paying my mortgage and car payment? These are things that are easy to take for granted, but for many non-union jobs, they would be out of reach.
It isn’t right that people are working so hard and still falling behind. This is why we need more unions. If more people were able to come together and fight for better conditions, we could actually grow the middle class in St. Cloud, instead of only a small group of people getting more and more.
Because I’ve been in my job for 13 years, I know I help students start their days on the right path. In addition to bringing families into the middle class, unions allow for you to really invest in your work. It is a win-win, with employees not having to work two or three jobs to make ends meet, and employers getting employees like me who are really invested in our jobs.
There is power in numbers, and I hope people remember that before it is too late. Unions are good for working people and our families, and we should fight to protect our current unions and to get more people the ability to join a union to improve their lives.
As you picnic or go to the lake or see family this Labor Day, I hope you take a moment to recognize all of the good things Labor Unions have won for working people. I am happy I am part of my union because it means I have a real voice in my workplace. Having a voice means a real chance to win fair wages and benefits, and it means that you have support if you need it. I believe all people deserve that support and stability.
If we stick together, and fight to protect and expand unions, I believe we can help make our economy more fair and begin again to grow our middle class. I hope are we celebrate Labor Day 2018 we can look back and say we spent the last year moving in that direction. Happy Labor Day!
This is the opionion of Linda Palmer, a Sartell resident and transportation para in the Sauk Rapids-Rice school district.
From the St. Cloud Times | This Labor Day, give a nod to unions