Most Interesting and Influencial 2005: Paula Simon


President A. Philip Randolph Institute Lansing Chapter

   Whenever you see Paula, she is moving fast.  Paula started her community activism when she joined the union. Office of Professional Employees International Union Local 459. Paula assisted with the organizing drive at Lansing General Hospital where she was employed. There was a ratification vote and the worker’s new had a union and a voice at work. The first year the union was in the hospital Paula was not exactly sure what it meant. So she decided to educate herself by taking advantage of classes that were being offered through Michigan State University School of Labor and Industrial Relations.  Classes that Paula took were contract negotiations,collective bargaining, public speaking, diversity in the work place organizing for survival and any other seminars, and/or in-services OPEIU Local 459 offered that she felt pertinent to a clearer understanding of what it truly meant to be represented by a union. Paula was elected steward by her peers in her department shortly after the union was voted in.
   Paula also became the Community Service Representatives for OPEIU Local 459. As a Community Service Representative you assist member during layoffs, strikes, community service such as referrals to community agencies, outside resources, etc.   As Community Service Representative, Paula assisted with an organizing drive at Rivendale Hospital Warren, Michigan. Paula also helped a kitchen pantry for striking workers at the American Red Cross. Paula was appointed delegate of the Greater Lansing Labor Council. She is the treasurer of the YMCA Mystic Lake Union Camp committee. This committee provided scholarships to union member learning with disadvantaged youth.  In 1990, Paula joined the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, a non-profit organization that does voter registration, voter education, get out the vote drives, and community service. She was elected recording secretary in 1998 and President of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, Lansing chapter in November 2002.   She joined the board for the Youth Develop Corporation in 1998. She was the president for three terms and resigned because of her election to A. Phillip Randolph.
    Paula currently works at Michigan State AFL-CIO.  She is also a member of the Church, Community, Labor, Alliance Group and a member of the Ingham County Fair Board.  Paula considers herself a drum major for social justice and is totally committed to making a difference in her community.