Cheryl Miller, her husband Mark, and AHCC member Rob Rinard setting up for the BBQ event on July 31.
Hot dogs sizzled on the grill as DOC members grabbed a bite to eat and discussed an upcoming contract vote and the need to stay strong given a recent Supreme Court ruling that threatens our union.
The BBQ was organized by Cheryl Miller, a shop steward at the Airway Heights Corrections Center in Spokane. Cheryl is a participant in our Teamsters Leadership Academy and drew inspiration to hold the event from the 9-month course.
“Putting on an event like this was strictly by a member for a member,” she said. “The only way that we can stay strong is to stick together and stand our ground otherwise we’re going to end up working for a lot less wages than we’re getting now.”
"The only way that we can stay strong is to stick together..."
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in Janus v AFSCME to create an “open shop” environment in the public sector, allowing members to abandon their unions. The danger of open shop is that wages, benefits, and working conditions can erode over time. Cheryl wanted to spread the word that the antidote to open shop is member unity and engagement.
Over the course of the day, hundreds of members stopped by to chat and grab a hot dog. Many expressed their appreciation and said they would make sure to vote on their contract.
An event of this scale cannot be put on without help. Cheryl recruited her husband, Mark, a retired Teamster food service manager and fellow member Rob Rinard to pass out materials and work the grill. Teamster staff were on hand, including Michelle Woodrow, our union’s President and Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement, to talk about negotiations and answer questions.
“What an excellent way to build union solidarity,” Woodrow said. “Thank you to Cheryl Miller for organizing this event and to all of our DOC members who work so hard to keep our communities safe. They deserve a contract that recognizes their sacrifice and honors their commitment to public safety.”