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With a ‘heart of wisdom,’ hospital housekeeper Greta Glenn advocates for her co-workers

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Meet Greta Glenn, our latest Never Quit Service Award winner. Glenn, a member of CSEA Local 1000 (Subunit 418) has been a longtime housekeeper at Pilgrim Psychiatric Center in Brentwood, New York. On the job, she practices the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would want to be treated. That includes both her co-workers and the patients who live in the hospital.

How did you get into this line of work? What do you do each day?

I’ve worked at Pilgrim now for 27 years. I started as a cleaner and now I’m a housekeeper. My job description is sweeping, mopping, wiping, dusting, stripping, buffing, waxing. I know how to handle all the machines. I’ve trained people to use all the machinery. I’m very dedicated to my job.

What do you enjoy about your work?

I like helping new employees solve problems. Coming into a job, people are afraid. I was new at one time, too. Someone took me under their wing. Someone showed me the ropes. I feel I should do the same thing. I always try to be helpful.

How do you develop a rapport with patients at the hospital?

I treat them the way I’d want someone to treat my children. (Glenn has seven children and 23 grandchildren).

Why is being a shop steward important to you?

I got involved with my union because I wanted to be sure that people were being treated fairly and with respect. I had a boss who passed away in 2014; his name was Milton Smith. He was Local 418’s recording secretary. I would help [our local] on informational days. When he passed away, I stayed on as shop steward, to fight for my housekeepers.  

Glenn credits her union job with being able to raise her children. Now, she fights for better wages and working conditions for her co-workers.

What others are saying about Greta Glenn:

James Young, who joined Pilgrim two years ago as a housekeeper, says, “Greta is a pleasure. She’s a hard worker and knows all the aspects of the job. She has a heart of wisdom and speaks from her heart. She just gives good advice from her life.” That’s why he nominated her for AFSCME’s Never Quit Service Award.