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Introducing #MyUnionStory: New Multimedia Storytelling Project Featuring Union Members

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Real people. Real stories of working in unions for a better life.

In honor of Labor Day, the North Carolina AFL-CIO is proud to announce the launch of our new storytelling project, #MyUnionStory!

If you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, then you might know that we kicked off a new storytelling project last week — something different from anything we’ve done before. This new project will showcase the amazing North Carolina union workers who help make America work!

There are millions of union members from all walks of life who know that by speaking up together you can accomplish more than you could on your own. Joining together in unions enables workers to negotiate for higher wages and benefits and improve conditions in the workplace. The #MyUnionStory project will use union-member narratives to share real experiences and stories about the life-changing power of joining a union. This project will challenge the negative misinformation about unions present in the public so that working Americans realize that joining a union is relevant, relatable, reliable, and essential to improving the lives of working families and bringing fairness and dignity to the workplace.

As our President MaryBe McMillian said recently, “Now more than ever, working people need a collective voice and the power that comes from joining together in unions.” Storytelling can be a powerful tool for social change. Stories help us understand one another, and they promote empathy as we listen to people’s unique experiences (rather than dismiss them as members of a particular group). Stories are also memorable, and hearing a good story about something makes us care more about it than simply being told ‘it’s great’ (something advertisers have known and used to sell products for a long time). When it comes to the Labor Movement, union members know better than anyone how having the freedom to join together in strong unions can shift the balance of power in the workplace in favor of working people.

Each #MyUnionStory will be shared on our blog and social media and includes a photo, written story, and audio interview components. #MyUnionStory hopes to challenge the negative stereotypes of unions and union members, influence policy for the benefit of working people, and inform the public of the various benefits of union membership. These stories will help illuminate the real state of working life today and aid in advocating for a better life for working people in North Carolina and across the country.

“Most Americans, especially in the South, aren’t really sure what a union is, much less why they should join,” said Kat Caskey, one of the developers of the #MyUnionStory project. “We’re trying to shift public discourses about unions by allowing people to ‘meet’ union members and hear their stories for themselves.”

One member, Nicole, explained, “I tell my story to express to them why I think the union is important, because if it can happen to me it can happen to anybody.” Despite a diverse range of experiences, opinions, and backgrounds, union members’ stories share a common passion for working together for better jobs, safer workplaces, and workers’ rights for ALL working people. When we share our authentic stories and experiences with others, we have an opportunity to spread that passion and help build an even bigger, stronger movement.

You can check out the first five stories in this new series below!

Ruby, UAW (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

“I'm a single parent; I raise three kids on my own, so it was a peace of mind going to bed knowing that they couldn't just fire me for anything.” -Ruby: proud family-woman, movie-goer, summer-cookout-enjoyer, fisher, union member.

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) August 30, 2018

A post shared by NC State AFL-CIO (@ncstateaflcio) on Aug 30, 2018 at 7:51am PDT

Kurt, AFGE (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

“I was asked at an early age to join, I found out what it was about, and I moved up to president… And I've never looked back.” -Kurt, proud father, beekeeper, hunter, world traveler, union member.

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) August 31, 2018

A post shared by NC State AFL-CIO (@ncstateaflcio) on Aug 31, 2018 at 3:30pm PDT

Nicole, CWA (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

“I was fired and the union got my job back in less than 48 hours.” --Nicole: Proud mother, window-shopper, Netflix binger, @CWAUnion member.

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) September 1, 2018

A post shared by NC State AFL-CIO (@ncstateaflcio) on Sep 1, 2018 at 1:20pm PDT

Kyle, UAW (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

“If it wasn't for the union they would have just kept replacing those employees.” --Kyle: Proud kayaker, hunter, fisherman, family-man, #union member.

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) September 2, 2018

A post shared by NC State AFL-CIO (@ncstateaflcio) on Sep 2, 2018 at 1:27pm PDT

Ann, UFCW (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

“I eat #union, I sleep union, I talk union. Now I'm retired, but I'm still active with anything that's union affiliated… I will always be a union member.” –Ann Young, proud mother, retiree, food-bank-volunteer, community organizer, @UFCW union member.

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) September 3, 2018

A post shared by NC State AFL-CIO (@ncstateaflcio) on Sep 3, 2018 at 10:42am PDT