We have to work together so we’re able to keep the things we have, like our health care and other benefits.

~ Jay Etheridge, 32BJ Member, New York

Gregg Bandy

District:
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Gregg Bandy is a 43 year old father of three who lives in Oxon Hill, Maryland and has been cleaning offices at the FAA in DC for eight years. Gregg says the union helps working people by having someone who stands up for them when it comes to job security and to help elect politicians who also stand up for us.

“Right before my mom died, she told me she wanted me to become a steward. She said it would be good for me and that it would help me get a voice.” As soon as he became a member, he went to meetings and activities. “Seeing that union was involved in politics really wet my appetite.”

Gregg’s mom was a shop steward at same building where he works now and had a last, dying wish to pass along the legacy. She knew it would help him to help his community. Gregg was resistant initially because the demand and responsibility seemed overwhelming. His mother insisted that he’d enjoy doing it, and Gregg couldn’t be gladder that he did.

“I was lacking direction before I got involved, didn’t have job, broke up with my girlfriend and I didn’t even think unions were good at first. I came to realize how much they help working people, when no one else does. She told me to be involved in and she pushed because she knew it would be good, saying I had to watch out for these people when she’s gone.” She passed soon after President Obama was elected. They watched the President’s inauguration at work and she cried, saying “see what you did? You were a part of that.”

Gregg has learned that people want change in their neighborhoods but they the lack knowledge of how to do it. “They think deep down that their voice and vote doesn’t matter, but us being out here shows them, it empowers them and lets them know that they can do it, they can make a difference. If they don’t, things will only get worse, but if they stand up and make voice heard, changes will be made.”

Gregg is driven by how inspired new member political activists are, seeing how they talk to people and run to knock on doors. “Seeing that energy inspires me to keep me doing what I’m doing. When I’m gone, I know someone else will be picking up torch and doing it.”

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