Earlier this month, after 38 years at Luther Haven and with 31 years as a leader in the union, Melody Nordby retired. Melody has served on the Executive Board since 2005 and has held several roles, including Delegate, and Trustee.
Melody remembers forming the union in 1989, and how the Administrator at the time talked about all the things he promised to fix at Luther Haven, and if they didn’t join the union, “we wouldn’t be paying dues.” Her and the soon-to-be members saw through all these lies however, and the vote to form the union passed overwhelmingly.
A few years later, Melody got involved when she wanted to ensure CNAs had a voice at the bargaining table. She said CNAs were getting only .5% raises when other job classes were getting more. New hires were making more than her and there were a lot of discrepancies with the pay scales, “that was when I got more involved, because I was the only one who would speak up and stand up.”
The following year in 2005, Melody joined the Executive Board, which she has served on since. When thinking about how the Board has changed over the years she said one of the biggest highlights is, “getting our [Executive] Board bigger and more inclusive and more diversified. It gives us more perspective and we cover more facilities and more job classifications.”
Bargaining at Luther Haven is starting again, and though she is retired, she’s planning to come to the table as an Executive Board member to help fight for members one last time. Laughingly, she said of Luther Haven, “They haven’t got rid of me yet.”
When thinking of the future of the union, and advice she’d like to pass on to new and future members she said, “I have notice in our negotiations [at Luther Haven] we are no longer on the defense, we are on the offense. That’s the hard part to get across. [New members] look at this contract, and we have all this…you only have all this because of the union. If you don’t have the union, it’s gone.” Finally, she really stressed one final thought, ““it’s the fact that there’s power in numbers, and if we fight, we win.