Member Spotlight: Wendy Plager

Growing up, I didn’t know much about unions, because no one in my immediate family was part of a unionized work force. I generally knew that unions were good for working people, but I had no direct connection...I thought.
When I started my first job in the Med Area in 2012, I remember listening to Phyllis Walker speak at New Employee Orientation about how the union was formed and the respect that workers were given, and I was so inspired by how a seemly ordinary group of people were able to create such powerful positive change, like in the 2003 strike where they won a minimum wage increase from $6 to $12 an hour.
I enjoyed my job and my coworkers, but I knew many workers at the U were not in as positive of a situation as I was, so I decided to get involved. Being in AFSCME has been a powerful way to amplify my voice. Through the Union, I have been able to speak in front of the Board of Regents and State Government Representatives about the importance of quality Health Insurance.
Once I started getting more involved in AFSCME activities, my mom told me I needed to speak to my great grandmother about our family history. I learned that my great grandfather had been an active member of his un-ion, and because of his service, he was invited to the
1965 Johnson Inaugural Ball by Vice President Humphrey. My great grandma usually only wore things from the church rummage sale, so seeing a photo of her dressed up next to the Vice President was incredible.
I am thrilled to be carrying on this family legacy, and who knows, maybe someday I will be able to attend a ball in Washington!
I recently started going out across the U to speak with members about our upcoming contract campaign. I like meeting new people, and I truly believe that together we can make our University a more equitable, respectful place for all and I love shar-ng this passion.