FourFourOne article The last time I was in work was on April 2, 2011.
It was the last day of the year.
As a child, I always wanted to go to work.
I wanted to learn the trades and work in a shop.
At the time, I worked in a cleaning business.
My boss was a woman called Mary, who used to take me to the cleaners’ trade union meeting.
It was a pretty big job and I’d worked as a cleaner in the past, but it wasn’t much.
One of the things she taught me was that we didn’t get paid overtime.
We were expected to do that by the time we got home.
After that meeting, I had a few days off, and I was working at home.
I thought about retiring.
But then I got the call to work at the cleaners.
She asked me if I wanted to join her union.
She was an older woman who worked at the factory and she’d worked with the other cleaners.
She told me she’d been thinking about joining and that she’d like to see me out there doing what I love.
So I joined and went straight to work as a librarian.
The cleaners union had just opened in 2014 and was just starting to grow.
They had two members and a third was on the negotiating team.
Their main complaint was that they didn’t have a union contract, which means that they weren’t eligible to join.
Because they didn´t have a contract, the librarians had to go through a lengthy process to get their pay and benefits.
And they were paid less than the other workers who were in the same position.
In the end, the union said it was too expensive for them to work full time and would lose some of their union members if they stayed at the same job.
That was the start of my career at the librarian trade union.
When I joined, there were only four libraries in the union.
But there was another union in the area, and that was the local branch.
Once we started, the staff there were always very nice and helpful.
I would come to work with a smile on my face.
I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and had the right skills.
Working at the union was a great experience.
People in the local union wanted to be there for us and we would always give them good advice.
There was also a good atmosphere around the shop.
The people there would always say hello and I loved it.
If we had a meeting, we would have fun, so we would come and sit and chat and talk.
During my time at the branch, I met a lot of other librators and librarian friends.
I remember one particular librarian friend who I had known since the age of 13.
She used to work in the nursery school in the suburb of Ballymena.
He had been a librator for four years and had a lot more experience than me.
His name was John.
He said, “My mum worked here too, but I wasn’t a lancer.”
That made me smile.
John told me that he didn’t feel like he was in a bad position to join the union because he was just a lance corporal.
“I’ve got no union card,” he said.
Like many librians, I thought that I could make a difference in the lives of the lakers.
Over the years, I’ve met other librarian friends who have been working in the shop and they too have shared the same dream.
They wanted to start a union.
The librists said it wasn´t possible for library unions to exist because of the way the economy was working.
However, with the growing popularity of online libraries, it seemed as if they were starting to take on more of a role in the community.
Nowadays, I would never say I was a lancaster, but there is no reason that I couldn´t join a libraries union.
If they can find the money to do so, it would be great.
Read more about Mary and the lancasters union at FourFourFourTwo.
For more information on the lancers union, visit the Librarians Union website.
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