Nestor turned to UNITE HERE to gain new skills when he was out of work, but he gained much more than just a new job. Find out how the union totally changed his life.
In 2009, I was a laid off ironworker. My wife and I struggled a lot during the seven months I was looking for work. We were on Medicaid. We couldn’t make rent. We even had to go to a food bank to get groceries.
I searched everywhere for work, but I had no other skills. Luckily, I found the UNITE HERE job training center in Boston. I learned cooking and other hospitality skills, and then they helped me get a job at a non-union hotel.
But my family and I still struggled while I was working there without a union. The health care was terrible. I paid $125 every week for family health care and still owed $2,700 when my son Ian was born. I was never promoted and got very few chances to work shifts in better positions. I remember once I signed up for a banquet shift, but the manager picked workers with less experience than me. I felt like trash.
So I decided to make a change and fight for a union. My coworkers and I worked hard to bring UNITE HERE to our hotel, and we won with 90% support!
Now my life is better. I pay just $12 a week for family health care. When Ian needed two different surgeries for sleep apnea, I didn’t pay a penny! My coworkers and I meet with management regularly to fix problems. I am proud of myself and my new career, and I don’t worry about my family’s future anymore.