Thanks to AFSCME’s bargaining, even state employees such as myself who are not part of a union, benefited from a 4% pay raise between 2019 and 2020…it is only thanks to AFSCME’s efforts that I can rely on regular pay increases to keep up with inflation. Union membership is more important now than ever. As my students and I begin a new school year online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, unions ensure that labor is justly rewarded.