Member Spotlight: Thomas Christian
Thomas Christian remembers his dad, a forklift operator for PACO Pumps in Oakland, as an outspoken person who never held back.
“Whatever he wanted to say, he said,” Thomas recalled. “He would always say ‘if there’s anything on your mind, say it, don’t hold it in. If you hold it in, it’s not going to be resolved.’”
The housekeeper at California Pacific Medical Center has taken this to heart and is equally outspoken at work, where he recently became a union steward.
“I don’t hold anything back. If I see something that’s not right, I’m going to say something,” he said. “People say nothing, and they just complain. But that doesn’t resolve anything.”
Since becoming a steward, Thomas is fielding some of those complaints and trying to provide answers. If he doesn’t know the answer to a question or how to resolve an issue, he knows he can always turn to the union contract book or an NUHW organizer.
“I got my contract book inside my locker room at work, just in case,” he said.
Noticing that many work issues and contract violations occurred because managers claimed to be unaware of contract guidelines, he also secured an extra pair of contract books to give to EVS supervisors “so they can read our contract.”
He hopes this prevents problems and negates the excuse from employers that they did not know what the contract specifies.
And there are many issues to resolve in the EVS department, from short-staffing, to favoritism, and employees not working in their assigned areas. This was causing problems because some new employees were not properly trained for duties outside of their assigned zone, Thomas said.
“Since we complained, they put them back in their areas,” he noted. That goes to show that it pays to speak up if something is wrong, and Thomas is ready to speak up for himself and everyone he works with.
“I want to be there for my coworkers,” he said.