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NUHW steward Juana Martinez is active in the union and on the dance floor

NewsJuly 26, 2022

Growing up in Michoacan, Mexico, housekeeper Juana Martinez began working at a very young age, but the weekends were about going dancing with friends and relatives.

“I’ve always liked dancing,” Juana said. “If my family had had the means, I would have liked to become a professional dancer.”

Juana continues to indulge in this passion three times a week when she attends U-Jam classes, a cardio dance and fitness program.

“It’s like Zumba, but you dance salsa, merengue, you move a lot more,” Juana described.

“The music and the dance help me relieve my stress,” Juana added. “At first it was difficult because I had not danced in a long time, but little by little I started to get loose.”

Juana brings this same intensity to her union work.

She’s been with Queen of the Valley Medical Center for 26 years and was part of the original group of workers who pushed to join NUHW.

“I like things to be fair and I want the company to follow our contract,” she said. “But if I see an employee doing something wrong, I also call him/her on that.”

Juana said she became a steward to help and defend others, and herself.

“I wanted to know how to talk to management, so they respect our rights, and also teach my coworkers about their rights,” she noted.

A staunch union supporter, Juana is always ready to participate in any union action, whether it’s an informational picket, meeting with political allies or helping them in their campaigns.

Her partner in these actions — and in the U-Jam classes — is her 31-year-old daughter Edith.

“She’s like my secretary,” Juana jokes. “She’s not part of the union, but she’s always with me and motivates me to come out and do things.”

And when they’re together, mother and daughter give those union actions the same energy they put into the U-Jam sessions.