AFSCME Iowa Council 61 - Every Day. Everywhere. Making Iowa Better.

We Are Your Neighbors: Beccy Johnson, Waterloo, Local 2659

I am the youngest of nine children who grew up in a Union family, my Dad worked at John Deere. We would discuss Union issues and contracts at the dinner table. My Dad always said he liked to have a say in his future and being a Union member was a way of doing that, so it was only natural that when I came to work at the University of Northern Iowa I joined AFSCME Local 2659. I met my husband at UNI and I married that wonderful man in 2001. Not long after our marriage we took over as guardians of one of our grandchildren. Now she will soon be in middle school. We were able to put her on our family health insurance which got her off Medicaid. That was a wonderful feeling. We are actively involved in her education and my husband has assisted in coaching her softball team. We have several other grandchildren which we enjoy tremendously and love to camp and fish with them.

I started UNI in October 1992 as a Clerk-Typist II in the Academic Achievement office where I helped our students achieve their academic goals. I was upgraded to a Secretary II and after three years of working with the wonderful students of UNI I transferred to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). I assisted people in starting and expanding small businesses. I spent 15 years doing this and am proud to say I was part of the team that started the first Business Incubator in Iowa. I was upgraded to a Secretary III and worked heavily with the grant funding the SBDC received. Now after 18 years with UNI I have worked my way up from a Clerk-Typist II to a Secretary III, which is the position I now hold in the Office of International Programs. I have the pleasure of working with faculty from UNI and around the world in their quest to achieve an International learning experience. The global world is expanding and I am so proud to be a part of it. I have had the pleasure to work with so many great people who are helping shape what UNI and Iowa will become.

My job at UNI has been a blessing in many ways. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in August of 1999. At the time I was a single mom in my mid 30’s. I had enough vacation and sick leave to get me through the many pre-surgery appointments and the surgery. After that I had nothing left to keep me in pay status. The University sent out a campus wide notice asking for vacation and comp-time donations. I received more donated time then I needed allowing me to complete my chemotherapy and radiation treatments. I don’t know what I would have done without the generous employees of UNI. I will never forget their kindness. I participate in the UNI Relay for Life event that the students of UNI organize. They give their time, energy and talent to make it a success and I am proud to be part of such a wonderful event. I am pleased to say that the team I chaired last year won first place for on-line contributions.

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