CWU: If you could change one thing about CapTel with a magic wand what would it be?
If I could change one thing about CapTel it would be to give all of the workers a living wage and a voice on the job and to make sure to give the workers the power to make sure they are treated with dignity and respect.
CWU: What do you mean by a voice on the job?
A voice on the job, to me, means that the worker has somebody in their corner, that the worker’s interests are represented in the company, that the workers are united as a collective to make sure that what is best for them is implemented—to make sure that people are treated as human beings with dignity rather than replaceable data points at the mercy of the company. I would like to bring people into a more equitable bargaining relationship, negotiating relationship, with the company.
CWU: Do you have a CapTel horror story?
I remember many times being unable to go to the bathroom, having to wait for ridiculous amounts of time to go to the bathroom, because I had to constantly worry about my every minute away from the computer being tracked. I remember hearing and dealing with so much racism and hatred on the phones and other disgusting forms of communication that we’re forced to listen to and tolerate and how little regard there was for the stress and suffering that a lot of workers have to go through.
CWU: Why do you believe CapTel needs a union?
I believe that CapTel needs a union because the workers at CapTel are very hardworking people who are doing a very important service for the community. They are helping folks with a disability communicate with others and they are acting essentially as an advocate for them. I believe that it is very important that these workers who play such an important social role are treated themselves with dignity and respect and are given the pay and conditions that they need and deserve to stay in the role. I believe we owe it to the users of CapTel to have their calls be captioned by professionals that are happy and represented by an organization and have security and dignity and a voice on the job rather than by people that are treated as disposable and have no incentive to maintain a high level of service. I think that the goal of the union is very much intertwined with the positive aspects of CapTel and its mission to help people.
Deeper than that, I believe that CapTel workers need a union because all workers deserve a union and it’s just fundamentally illegitimate and unfair to have people being treated as disposable cogs in a machine to be used up and thrown away. That’s how CapTel treats people and the union is needed to change that reality.