From [community organizing] I learned that I have a knack for listening, just being there for people to talk to. I decided to go back to school in 1992. I graduated with a Masters in Social Work.

One of the frustrations has been the lack of resources and the lack of support from management. Social workers and other colleagues of mine were not able to do a good job because we had so many other demands placed on us, so many hours in the day and week to try to meet mandates legislated by the governor and by the agencies.

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It became impossible to do a good job because of the requirements. They increased the documentation, the number of people; the amount of time social workers had to be in the Court. There is also legal work social workers have to take on. All these issues.

In April 2001, state employees held rolling strikes. We effectively gained wide support for these efforts and we closed down most of the functions of agencies.

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During this time frame, Governor Locke had proposed to cut wages and increase medical costs for state employees. Through the rolling strikes we were actually able to hold off some of the medical cost increases and equal the salary increase with the teachers’ union. State employees were able to see that they actually can take action and have an impact. For that reason I believe it was a victory for state employees.

We were able to make a difference and provide hope that it can be better when people come together to work on these issues. We can make a difference.

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