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Steward Highlight: Jaimie Bennett

Martina Manicastri
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No one knows a workplace better than the workers, and that’s why having stewards like Jaimie Bennett is crucial to our union’s strength. Since Jaimie began working at the Judiciary in 2010, he has organized 191 members, including nearly 30 new members since the recent ratification of our new PNCR contract. 

How does he do it? 

He starts by sending an introductory email to the list of non-members in his unit, making sure to include a personal touch. His latest round featured a photo of himself with his family to emphasize how he sees the union as an extension of his family and community. If he doesn’t get a response to his email, he follows up with a Teams call which he feels is the most effective way to ask non-members to stand in solidarity with their coworkers. He makes it a point to talk about the victories our union has won, like up to 30% in raises in the latest PNCR contract, “The raises, the financial security in our contract, it’s hard for somebody to argue with that.” 

But sometimes non-members do argue, so he comes equipped with answers to their tough questions on dues, reaping the benefits of a contract without being a member, and anti-union talking points: “Believe in what you’re saying and don’t take it personally. Keep giving them the facts, remind people of the highlights of union membership.” 

More than anything, Jaimie is committed to following through. “I’m consistent, I’m persistent, I’m professional. Once I’m behind something like the union, I give it my all. If they tell me no the first time, I’m coming back.” 

He likens talking to non-members about joining the union to being a salesman without the gimmick, “I truly believe in the union, so I can sell the union.” Apart from winning the financial security in our contracts, the union is a network of people dedicated to being there for each other in the face of hardship, inside and outside of the workplace. 

When we asked him why he supports the union, he said, “I support the union because I believe in the middle class, in having a decent salary, and in not having to struggle. The union has the political pull to do something about the issues that affect us every day, like affordable housing. I know the union has my back.” 

Advice for fellow stewards

Jaimie’s advice to stewards looking to do more organizing is simple, “Start off with people you know, or who recognize you and that you have a rapport with, until you’re comfortable having those conversations. Use technology to your advantage. More than anything, be consistent, keep coming back.” 

We give a big thank you to Jaimie and every workplace leader that keeps our union strong. If you want to step up and be a steward, contact your Staff Representative to learn how.