April 02, 2020

Union interest on the rise

Author: Kara Smith
Source:  NYSUT Communications

As the coronavirus crisis rages on, there is a bright spot — interest in union membership is on the rise.

Over the past few weeks, NYSUT organizers have received scores of new inquiries from workers interested in forming a union.

Megan O’Brien, NYSUT’s organizing manager, attributes the increase to workers who see that while their unionized colleagues have a voice and an advocate in the workplace, they’re being kept out of the loop.

“For instance, decisions are being made about their health and safety, and by extension the health and safety of their families, without their input,” she said.

The inquiries are statewide and cover a wide swath of job titles, ranging from educators, to direct care workers, to social service agency workers. Although the inquiries are in the early stage, O’Brien expects a good number will develop into campaigns in another month or so.

Despite ongoing anti-union attacks, times of crisis are important reminders about why having a union voice is so important, O’Brien continued. She cited the shortage of personal protective devices for health care workers and lack of clarity about education issues as two examples where NYSUT continues to advocate on behalf of members.

“People on the front lines need someone to protect their workplace rights,” she said. “If you need a voice, call us.”

Are you interested in forming a union? To find out how, visit nysut.org/organize.