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Member Profile: Avleen Kaur

Avleen Kaur isn’t shy about using her voice. The mental health counselor loves to sing, recite her poems and speak up for her colleagues at Richmond Area Multi-Services (RAMS) in San Francisco.

Avleen is new to unions and RAMS, where she started last July working with grade school students, but she decided to become a steward after participating in mid-contract bargaining that resulted in average raises of 21 percent.

“My major source of inspiration was seeing how much impact voicing our needs can really have,” Avleen said. “It was pretty liberating to see how we closed the gap between management and employees.

“I also noticed the power in numbers,” she added.

During her many months as a steward, Avleen has grown to understand how much power she and her colleagues have and how much change they can effect “if we truly feel it in our hearts and translate it into action.”

For instance, when RAMS released new workload/productivity expectation guidelines, Avleen rallied her coworkers and brought to light a discrepancy between the full spectrum of work they were actually doing and what was visible to management. She’ll continue to advocate on this subject in the upcoming joint Labor-Management Committee meeting.

“It’s satisfying to think that I’m giving my time and attention to our needs and wants as a collective,” Avleen said. “These efforts give me a sense of involvement in the community; it makes me feel more attached to my colleagues at RAMS and contributes to my professional wellbeing.”

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