For many people the Labor Day holiday simply means a day off work during the last days of summer. But historically speaking, Labor Day is a celebration of the American worker and their contributions. Because of its relation to workers, Labor Day is also closely tied with labor unions.
There are seven local unions on Millersville University’s campus including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees local 2421. Dave Schober, who works in maintenance operations, is a representative of AFSCME local 2421, a chapter exclusively for Millersville Employees.
“Labor Day is a celebration of all of the people who work a full week to keep our country strong,” says Schober. “For union workers, it is also a celebration of the power of collective bargaining, and the right to do so.”
“The number one job for me is to make sure that the master agreement between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and AFSCME Council 13 is followed,” Schober says. “Any violation of the contract will be addressed with the parties involved, and if not resolved could lead to resolution through the grievance process.”
Schober has also participated in helping negotiate the current contract for AFSCME-PA, which he describes as an interesting experience.
“Most of our members can only imagine what 13 long days in Harrisburg, back and forth between the union and the commonwealth is like,” Schober adds, “It was exhausting, but in the end, rewarding.”
AFSCME is the largest trade union of public employees in America. Schober mentions they are halfway through a four-year contract, and the union was recently making headlines as part of a Supreme Court case.
“The Supreme court decision was an attempt by billionaires to disband our union,” Schober explains, “We were hurt somewhat financially but remain strong.”