URI staffer named top ESP
Linda Lowe burst on the scene in her URI ESP local a mere two years ago. Now she's the 2016 NEARI Education Support Professional (ESP) of the Year. Lowe is a super-charged, gung-ho type of leader who feeds on union fights for pay equity, just treatment, and respect.
A 29-year employee of URI and a 10-year member of NEARI, Lowe began attending union meetings on campus in 2012, discharging vacation time to do so since her work schedule did not coincide with the lunchtime gatherings. The former president was getting ready to retire, and there was no one to step in. Although Lowe had no prior experience, she felt that a fully-involved union was imperative for the protection and advancement of her fellow employees.
"I knew it was a giant learning curve, but felt it was so important that I had to give it a try," she said. "Every chance I get I take whatever training there is available, like the skills I learned from the NEA and NEARI organizing institutes. It's definitely tough to organize such a large group in four locations, and hard to get people involved. I'm just the new kid, but I keep going."