Heeding the Call
New steward uses Local 1000 to extend her community impact
When Meghan Burkhart was growing up in the San Joaquin Valley, her father worked in the migrant farm camps. That influence gave Burkhart two important perspectives on the world: that we are tied to the land by the food we eat and that the hands that provide the labor can join together to raise each other up.
So when Burkhart entered state service two years ago working in the call center at the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), signing on with the union that represents 95,000 state workers was as natural to her values as buying California-grown produce.
“It was pretty much instantaneous,” she said. “I started going to the worksite meetings, started asking a lot of questions.” She enrolled in the Leadership Apprenticeship Program for Stewards (LAPS) just before completing her first year at DCA.
Burkhart found all the components of the comprehensive LAPS programs useful, but for her, shadowing at the Member Resource Center (MRC) provided the most relevant parallels to her own job as well as meaningful insight into how Local 1000 works.
“Sitting there and listening to the calls come in and to how the MRC reps handle it when they reference the contract or generate a referral is valuable information for someone who’s trying to learn how to navigate the process for our members.”
Burkhart has her hands full with her work at DCA and her steward duties as well as being a mother to her son, but her deep commitment to social justice embodied in Local 1000’s purpose statement drives her to keep going.
“Ultimately, we’re trying to protect Californians: our friends, our families, our neighbors,” she said. “For me, it’s all tied together.”