Steward Spotlight: Region 2
This week’s Steward Spotlight features Region 2 chief steward, Wanda Fortune-Stiffin, longtime MNIT at Dept. of Human Services (DHS) project manager.
Though she hadn’t experienced working in a union-represented role prior to coming to work for the State, Fortune-Stiffin was drawn to her union meetings and impressed with union-negotiated benefits.
“I always attended meetings, but I was never a union person because I came from corporate, so this was interesting to me knowing we negotiate for everything we want,” Fortune-Stiffin said.
Two years ago, a fellow MAPE leader recruited Fortune-Stiffin to the chief steward role at DHS, an agency that provides no shortage of steward needs.
“Now that I’ve become a steward, I hear some of the complaints and some of the issues my fellow members are running into,” she said. “I feel blessed I haven’t had those issues, but to know they exist out there makes me want to learn more about what we can do to help fight or combat that.”
Fortune-Stiffin said one of the most rewarding parts of being a steward is helping members with bad managers or bad supervisors feel comfortable and safe speaking up.
“I let them know everything they do or say with a steward is confidential,” she said. “We will try to do our best to combat the situation and keep you calm through it. We will be a sounding board to listen if you just need to talk, and if you need to take action we're there to help guide that process as well.”