Stephanie Wiley, OH

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Stephanie Wiley 1Every day I wake up before the sun rises to prepare for three daily shifts aiding students with special needs on their way to and from school. For 25 years, I have devoted my life to making sure children with physical and mental disabilities get to school safely and have a consistent, reliable adult presence when they leave home.

As a childcare attendant at the Transportation Department of Columbus City Schools, I assist students who take the bus to school, helping them with their wheelchairs, walkers and books.

I pride myself on being a trusted presence for children who often need someone to talk to about school and issues they face outside of school. Too often, the children are victims of bullying and they rely on me and my coworkers to provide a safe and comfortable environment when they are away from home.

As a union childcare attendant, I am trained in crisis prevention and intervention techniques that keep students safe while in transport. My local union represents 21 Childcare Attendants, 90 Intervention Aides, who are trained in proper protocol on how to assist disabled children and address violence on the bus, as well as 750 bus drivers.

Our ability to speak together with a collective voice ensures that we can better assist children who need our help. That’s why I am deeply concerned about the Supreme Court case Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which could severely limit our voice on the job and hurt our ability to best serve the children we care so much about.

And as an African American women, I also know that unions provide a pathway to the middle class for all people. In this out of balance economy, we need to empower people to form strong unions, not make it even harder for hardworking people to get ahead.