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Read Scholarship Winner Amara Moorhead’s Essay

Every year, NATCA offers a scholarship program for spouses, children, stepchildren, and legally adopted children of active, retired, and deceased members in good standing for at least two consecutive years. This scholarship is for full-time attendance at accredited colleges and universities within the United States and its territories for an undergraduate degree program.
This year’s prompt asked candidates to examine why labor unions are experiencing a resurgence and what implications this has for the future.
Amara Moorhead, child of Matthew Moorhead (Minneapolis Center, ZMP) is among this year’s 20 scholarship winners. Below is the essay that Amara submitted.

Labor unions are becoming more popular due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the
recent political environment. Employees are asking for an increase in benefits, pay, and safety from their companies. Companies like Google and Amazon have experienced recent calls to unionize their workforces. A CNBC article states “A Gallup poll conducted last September showed 68% of Americans approve of labor unions’.” This is the highest it’s been since 1965.

One major factor for this resurgence in labor unions is a reflection on Covid-19. As people were faced with mortality through the pandemic, organizations still expected them to work, despite the challenges they were faced with. New restrictions were imposed by the government and employers to slow the pandemic’s spread. Some restrictions did not necessarily protect the workers, work environments, or the duration people had to work due to staffing during the pandemic. While some work environments could easily adapt to the pandemic restrictions, others were asked to take extra risk, work longer hours, and most without additional pay. This work environment increased the awareness of needing a labor union to protect them and their rights. The labor union would also fight for a safe work environment, and compensation for doing their job role while being exposed to the pandemic.

Another major factor is the supportive political climate, which has helped organizers
succeed. Our current president, Joe Biden, is set to be the most “pro-union” president ever. He has vocalized his support to make taking action to become a union easier and less bureaucratic. Once Biden was elected president, he did not hesitate to make the resurgence of unions at the top of his priority list. The president met with 39 national labor leaders, including Laura Garza, a union representative at Starbucks’ New York City Roastery, and Christian Smalls, the president of the Amazon Workers Union. Having the support of the president will help further strengthen unions when going into negotiations.

I can personally see how unions help in a work environment. Recently, I experienced a situation where my benefits were taken away, without notice and without reasoning of my actions. Personally, I would want to have a union in this situation to help protect my benefits that I was promised as I was hired with my current employer. I feel that with union protection, my benefits would have been more secure in this situation.

Looking towards the future, I am attending college to go into nursing. I know labor unions are a great asset to protect me in that particular field, especially after witnessing all that the healthcare industry had to cope with during the Covid-19 pandemic. I want to be sure that I am valued as an employee and paid appropriately.

If the current political climate continues to be supportive of unions, I feel the country’s workforce will be guaranteed benefits and rights that all should be given. Union Leaders will be present to negotiate and make sure these things happen, resulting in a positive impact on productivity and a more motivated workforce.

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