“I Hope Members Grasp a Fuller Picture of What a Union Does for Them and the Community.”

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Patricia Peterson, retired Senior Police Administrative Aide, Local 1549

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS

After 38 years with, the New York Police Department, I retired in February 2017.

I was a Senior Police Administrative Aide in the 33rd precinct in Washington Heights since 1994 where I was responsible for crime analysis, reviewing complaints and classifying them as homicides, shootings, break-ins, noting any trends detectives and commanding officers should know about.

  • AFSCME_NeverQuit_BrandedTitle copy_blankA friend invited me to my first union meeting in 1988. I had questions I wanted answered, so I went.

I became a Local 1549 shop steward and, later, a delegate. I shared information with my coworkers because not everyone can attend every union meeting.

This year I was invited to become a Volunteer Member Organizer. It gives me purpose to visit worksites and talk to members about the importance of belonging to a union.

I share my story with members I meet. When I retired, I found out benefits don’t kick in immediately. I needed a prescription medication and was shocked when the pharmacist told me it costs $400. That’s a big expense I had always gotten for no cost, thanks to my union. We cannot take our benefits for granted.

Some members don’t know all our union provides — legal services, Personal Service Unit for counseling, health coverage and prescriptions, test prep, free college, credit counseling, and more. I hope to help members grasp a fuller picture of what a union does for them and the community.

It is crucial to get the word out.

As told to Diane S. Williams

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