Member Feature: Sherese Williams

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Sherese Williams: Driving Membership Efforts at PCCFCE

Sherese Williams, a 5-year member of Portland Community College Federation of Classified Employees, Local 3922 (PCCFCE), loves her work at PCC. “If you ask bus drivers, what is your dream route to drive—I’m driving it!”
 
A second-generation bus driver and union member (her mother is a member of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757), Sherese credits the strength of her union with establishing her position as a good job with a liveable work schedule. “I have time to take classes, I have time to meditate, I have time to walk my dog, I have time to schedule doctor’s appointments and make sure my health is good.”
 
Sherese's love of her work and talent for connecting people led to her volunteering for increasing levels of responsibility at PCCFCE. She recently ran and was elected Vice President of Membership after her local president told her, “Sherese, you’re doing this job already.”
 
Her big project as VP of Membership? Establishing a worksite leader in every work center or department. With four campuses and 13 locations at Portland Community College, “it’s a huge goal,” she says. “I’m making big strides … I know we’re going to be able to eventually get all of them connected. The challenge is in getting people in the locations where we need them.”
 
To get it done, Sherese is drawing on her natural strengths and the training she’s receiving from AFT-Oregon through our Member Organizing Program (MOP). “I think the program is great,” she says. “The training opened my eyes to have deeper conversations with people, to listen to the needs of the member.” In the MOP program, she’s part of a team that’s building skills while building membership, so far helping over 80 members at 6 different locals sign cards.
 
When the program is over, she plans on bringing the skills she's learning back to her local to train other member leaders and keep the momentum going.
 

As we face a coming decision in the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court case that could eliminate fair share fees, skills and efforts like these are what will make us stronger together. Together in our union, members have won better wages, job security, and crucial healthcare benefits, along with increases to paid sick days and vacation. All this is at stake and would be lost if we allowed our union to weaken.
 
What’s going on at your local? Know a member we should feature? Email Communications Specialist Andrew Gorry at andrewg@aft-oregon.org.