AFL-CIO gets in storytelling high-gear with @Work website

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Telling the story of us

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re with the other parents at your kid’s little league game, or attending a church social, or hanging out with your friends when someone who knows you’re a union member asks the question, “What do unions do, anyway?”

The national AFL-CIO has launched an innovative, brand new section of its website – www.aflcio.org/atWork – that focuses on telling the story of what unions and union members do best – making America work – and how people working together through their unions contribute to society in ways beyond just providing good jobs with good benefits.

“America’s unions are continuously evolving and finding new ways to improve the lives of all working families, and our amazing, hardworking members prove this day-in and day out,” said Media Outreach department leader Keri Shanks in announcing the site.

“This new hub showcases the ways in which our members are committed to common public good and stand for the highest quality of work through, articles and videos of people all over the country.”

@Work offers visitors a large collection of stories in seven categories: Action, People, Community, Innovation, Quality, Training, and Collaboration. Each group tells the story of us in different ways. These stories show the difference people can make for their families, communities, employers and our country by working together, in unions.

Innovation @Work includes a story about how emerging labor leaders are bringing young workers together through paintball games, music festivals, trivia nights, and pub crawls. Today’s unions are not your daddy’s labor movement!

People @Work includes the story of Jennifer Mondie, and violist for the National Symphony Orchestra, who credits her union, the American Federation of Musicians, with allowing her and classical musicians like her to support themselves as artist, enabling them to do work for a living that brings pride to their communities and to their country. Jennifer’s story could easily be the story of musicians with the North Carolina Symphony, where union members play beautiful music for the people.

Training @Work includes the story of FDNY firefighters Lts. Mike Barvels and John Kazan, who arrived at the scene of a reported fire in Times Square but realized something wasn’t right about the burning SUV they found. They decided not to turn their hoses on the vehicle until experts could arrive on the scene where they found and were able to diffuse a car bomb before it could explode. Thanks to their extensive training, Barvels and Kazan caution preserved crucial evidence that led the FBI quickly to arrest the would be bomber.

Community @Work includes the story of how the Writers Guild of America, East, holds workshops for military members and caregivers to help them tell their stories.

Action @Work includes the story of union attorneys like the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee (LCC) volunteer during election season to protect American citizens’ right to vote.

Quality @Work tells a story about how the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Nebraska is keeping it “Made in the U.S.A.” at the last circuit breaker factory in the country. IBEW’s commitment to creating a high-skill, highly productive workforce has enabled Schneider Electric Manufacturing to compete even as its competitors have pursued the race-to-the-bottom strategy all too familiar these days.

Collaboration @Work tells the story of how the American Federation of Teachers is leading a public-private partnership in McDowell County, West Virginia to improve educational, social, and economic support in an economically depressed corner of the country.

Be sure to spend some time exploring the @Work website so the next time someone asks you, “What good are unions in this day and age?”, you’ll have plenty of stories to share with them.