Reed Westerhoff, a Federal Aid Administrator for the Department of Health and Human Services, joined NAPE/AFSCME on their first day of state service in October.
“I have been passionate about unions forever. Unions built this country,” they said. “And I have been in so many positions where I felt unrepresented, bullied, and like I had no support.”
Reed believes that the world is not built for a single person to operate alone.
“Our union gives us the ability to collaborate, to come together, to form consensus, and use that as a means to get people what they want and need,” they said. “It’s incredibly important, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be involved.”
Advocacy, education, and empowerment are important to Reed, and they hope to show more State of Nebraska employees how NAPE/AFSCME can help them live a better life both at work and outside of it.
“I know that because of the way Nebraska operates, our union still represents people who aren’t members. But just reaping the benefits of something does not form empowerment,” they said. “You’re just being handed things at that point, you’re not being empowered to receive it. While I do believe that sometimes we all need gifts, when it’s something like employment and advocacy, you’re the only one that knows how to do that and you should be involved in protecting yourself.”
Reed hopes to get their fellow State of Nebraska employees involved in our union, though they also acknowledged that some people are hesitant to join.
“I want people to know that the dues we pay carry so much weight,” they said. “To hold onto twenty bucks but be left out of the conversation just doesn’t make sense.”
Unity, education, and advocacy are things that Reed has always been passionate about, and NAPE/AFSCME serves as an avenue for them to bring those things together and effect meaningful change in the workplace.
If you are not yet a NAPE/AFSCME member, click here to join today!