“As a community-based news reporter, I was constantly exposed to union-influenced environments in schools, hospitals and police departments,” says Janet Lubman Rathner, the LHSFNA’s new Communications Specialist. “I saw the advantages of collective bargaining.”

When she was interviewed, Rathner was a senior editor at a non-union workplace undergoing cutbacks and layoffs. “There is no regard for seniority and recall rights are negligible,” she explained. “The resulting low morale and lack of job security impact the quality of the work being put out. No one is comfortable and in the final analysis, everyone suffers. [The group] would be a stronger organization today and far more successful in carrying out its mission if union protections and structures were in place.”

In combination with her professional background, that kind of perspective raised Rathner to the top of the applicant list, and she was hired in August. A lifelong journalist and writer, she has worked in radio, television and film as well as print media. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post. She is a native of Richmond, a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and the mother of two adult children.

Some of Rathner’s family experience added to her interest in the LHSFNA. “[M]y husband has been a member of a union most of his professional life. When he was injured on the job and unable to perform his work responsibilities for a number of months, it was his union contract that prevented his employer’s plan to hire someone else and have him permanently replaced. The union required the employer to find other work for him while he convalesced and made it possible for him to return to his regular duties once he regained his health.”

Clearly, Rathner’s life experience and personal orientation will inform her work as she writes about the issues facing Laborers and their families for LIFELINES and the Fund. After her first month on the job, this writer – her editor and manager – couldn’t be more pleased.

[Steve Clark]