Member Spotlight: Shirley Caston

One of member leader Shirley Caston’s favorite sayings is that “A closed mouth never gets fed.”

These are words that Caston’s mother imparted to her years ago, and she has held them close ever since as a reminder that a person should always speak up for what they need and for what is important in life.

Shirley is a 31-year employee in the medical industry spending time working as a Rehab Tech, a Patient Care Tech, and now in her current position of 16 years as a GI Lab Technician at Research Medical Center in Kansas City. Shirley is also an active member in her union, serving as a shop steward and as a member of the bargaining team for three contract campaigns.

“I understand the union difference because I remember how it was before we won our union at RMC,” said Shirley Caston. “For
example, our performance reviews were always low no matter how good an employee you were because they were tied to wages.
Now we get fair reviews and guaranteed raises in our contract! We also have real voice in decisions that impact patient care matters and allows us to make things better.”

When talking to Shirley about what makes her so passionate about her being involved in our union she says that it is learning
about politics and then being able to educate those in her community and at her church.

“I really enjoy taking part in the Fight For $15 activities because I wasn’t old enough to participate when the civil rights movement
was happening. Now I too am part of something that generations after ours will benefit from.”

Speaking of the next generation, Shirley is a grandmother of five and spends as much time as she can with her grandchildren. She loves taking them to the park or out to bowl, and enjoys some competitive dominoes with them too. Shirley is also a proud fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, watching the games with family and friends.

Shirley Caston is an active participant in her family life and her union life because as she puts it, “You can’t sit around and wait for someone to fix it for you!” This is advice that she would give to any new union members.

And Shirley doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk too, helping out on important union campaigns from Chicago to  California knocking doors and talking to fellow healthcare workers about issues she holds dear.

Thank you for your leadership, Shirley Caston!

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