Tashara is a child welfare social worker in Washington State who has reaped the extraordinary benefits of union advocacy. Unions are looking after and advancing the needs of frontline workers all over the country as they confront and overcome the challenges of the coronavirus.

“Child Welfare Social Workers are unionized here in Washington State, and our union did some amazing things while I was in this role. They fought tirelessly to get us raises. And ultimately our union won! Over a span of 1-2 years, Social Workers received a series of significant raises, which of course improved our livelihood as we were finally moving toward earning a livable wage. If we left it up to the Washington State government, we would not have gotten these raises. We needed our union to fight for us and win us the ability to live a quality life.

Unions in the US have a long history of advocating for social and economic justice for the Black community. They’ve helped make significant improvements in the quality of life of Black workers. However, there is still work to be done. We need allies to stand by us and continuously demand change. We need the option to have organizations, like unions, advocate for us in the workforce. Because, the Black community cannot win the fight against social and economic injustice alone.”

View this post on Instagram

One of my first positions as a Social Worker was working within the Child Welfare system in Washington State. Also known as CPS. People have a lot of preconceived notions of what it means to be a Social Worker within the Child Welfare system. But, what they don’t know is, Child Welfare Social Workers are notoriously underpaid and overworked. When I first started the role, I was barely earning enough money to stay afloat and pay my bills, while having to manage 15+ cases at a time. I had to pick up a second job delivering food just to be able to thrive. It was a lot. Now let me backup a little bit, and put this in perspective for you. Per the US Census Bureau, in 2017 Black people accounted for about 12% of the workforce, and about 21% of the total amount of Social Workers. What this should tell you, is there are a lot of Black folks in the Social Work profession. A profession that is emotionally taxing, and traditionally underpaid. Child Welfare Social Workers are unionized here in Washington State, and our union did some amazing things while I was in this role. Over a span of 1-2 years, Social Workers received a series of significant raises, which of course improved our livelihood as we were finally moving toward earning a livable wage. If we left it up to the Washington State government, we would not have gotten these raises. We needed our union to fight for us and win us the ability to live a quality life. Unions in the US have a long history of advocating for social and economic justice for the Black community. However, there is still work to be done. We need allies to stand by us and continuously demand change. We need the option to have organizations, like unions, advocate for us in the workforce. Because, the Black community cannot win the fight against social and economic injustice alone. Check out publicserviceworkersprotectus.com to see how you can get involved in helping frontline workers or follow @PSWPU. Tag a front line worker below that you’d like to thank for all of their hard work! Paid for by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

A post shared by Tashara | Seattle Blogger (@theprototype_) on